Circumpolar Arctic Vegetation Unit S2

 

Hierarchy of Geobotanical Vegetation Map Units (Walker DA 2002)

Seward Peninsula, Alaska. Photo D.A. Walker.
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map legend color for unit S2S2. Low-shrub tundra

Tundra dominated by low shrubs >40 cm tall. Subzone E.

Detailed Description

Moist tundra in Subzone E dominated by low shrubs >40 cm tall sometimes on permafrost-free soils. Peatlands with permafrost are common in wet areas. This highly variable unit includes some areas with scattered Pinus pumila stlaniks in the Anadyr-Penzhina subprovince, but excludes areas of continuous stlaniks.
Area: 613 x 1000 km2.

Representative Syntaxa

Communities of the classes Loiseleurio-Vaccinietea, e.g., Betulo-Salicetum glaucae Dan. 2002 prov. (Greenland), Betulo-Adenostyletea Br.-Bl. et Tx 1943 and Salicetea purpureae Moor 1958.

Dominant Plants

Upland areas have mainly oligotrophic hypoarctic shrubs. Thick moss carpets are common in most shrublands. Along drainages and near treeline, low and tall willows and alders are abundant. Salix glauca dominates this zonal tundra in Greenland. Some trees reach into this subzone along the southern river valleys.

    1. Oligotrophic hypoarctic shrubs: Betula nana s.l. ; Betula middendorfii/glandulosa ; Spiraea stevenii ; Vaccinium uliginosum ssp. microphyllum ; Vaccinium vitis-idaea ; Ledum palustre spp. decumbens ; Empetrum nigrum ssp. hermaphroditum ;
    2. Moss carpets: Hylocomium splendens ; Sphagnum ; Aulacomnium turgidum ; Sanionia uncinata ;
    3. Low and tall willows and alders: Salix pulchra ; Salix glauca ; Salix richardsonii ; Salix alaxensis ; Salix krylovii ; Salix burjatica ; Salix boganidensis ; Salix arbusculoides ; Alnus crispa ; Alnus fruticosa ;
    4. Tree: Betula tortuosa ; Betula cajanderi ; Populus balsamifera ; Populus suaveolens ; Chosenia arbutifolia ; Larix laricina ; Larix cajanderi ; Picea obovata ; Picea glauca ; Picea mariana ;

a=acidic, n=non-acidic