Vegetation ecologists at ACCS monitor vegetation status and trends, classify plant communities, and investigate plant community composition relative to environmental gradients. Vegetation monitoring enables the efficient management of natural resources and helps inform the decisions of natural resource planners. We continue to develop vegetation monitoring protocols and field methods in cooperation with state and federal agencies for a variety of ecoregions in Alaska. Our ongoing monitoring projects throughout boreal and arctic Alaska are providing data to answer questions related to landscape and ecosystem change. These data are available, along with other ground-based, extensive ecological survey data throughout Alaska, in the Alaska Vegetation Plots Database.
The standardized classification of vegetation attempts to organize the continuum of species occurring across a landscape into discrete, observable classes. ACCS is actively involved in the crafting of the mid- and lower-level vegetation units (plant associations) of the National Vegetation Classification (NVC) as they apply to arctic and boreal Alaska. Plant associations are assemblages of species that respond similarly to environmental conditions such as climate, geology, topography, hydrology, and soil. ACCS provides a provisional list of plant associations and their attendant conservation status ranks that have been formally described for Alaska.