COAT - vegetation (COATVEG)

The Climate-ecological Observatory for Arctic Tundra - COAT is an ecosystem-based monitoring system designated to monitor and understand climate effects on the terrestrial food web in the Norwegian Arctic, on Svalbard and in Finnmark. This project is the vegetation monitoring within COAT. See summary for more detail.

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Project type

  • field work
  • remote sensing
  • long-term monitoring
  • sios


  • terrestrial biology

Project Keywords

  • biosphere / terrestrial ecosystems / alpine/tundra
  • biosphere / vegetation / plant characteristics
  • biosphere / vegetation / vegetation cover
  • biosphere / vegetation / vegetation species
  • land surface / landscape / landscape patterns
  • biosphere / vegetation / herbivory
  • biosphere / terrestrial ecosystems
  • biosphere / vegetation

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In this project vegetation is monitored understand effects of climate on vegetation, and within the COAT framework of ecosystem-based monitoring (see RiSID 10771). Because herbivory by reindeer and geese is an integral part of vegetation dynamics, and because the plants provide essential forage for reindeer, geese and ptarmigan, monitoring is designed so that we can understand effects of herbivores on plants, and changes in plant quality and quantity that are important for the herbivores. In order for the monitoring to inform ecosystem-based management, the areas cover varying degree of herbivore area use and habitat quality, and include moss tundra, disturbed tundra (disturbance caused by herbivores or permafrost processes), and mountain aven vegetation (Dryas octopetala). The monitoring combined field methods with remote sensing using drones, cameras to monitor snow melt and spring green up, and satellite imagery. It is important to distribute the monitoring sites in coastal and inland, as well as central and more northern locations in ordre to include climate variation. Therefore monitoring currently includes valleys Sassendalen, Adventdalen, Semmeldalen, Alkhornet, and Brøgger Peninsula. The monitoring builds on and expands the very few existing time series on field based plant monitoring. The sites for monitoring will be selected during 2016-2020, and the selection of sites is approximately half way through in spring 2018. COAT Svalbard is a core part of the terrestrial module in SIOS and the vegetation monitoring will also contribute to SIOS.

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