Upper Kuparuk River Region

Upper Kuparuk River Region Vegetation

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Typical plant communities:

Upper Kuparuk River Region published map

Figure 10. Sagavanirktok-age glacial surface near Imnavait Creek. The vegetation is tussock tundra (Eriophorum vaginatum-Sphagnum spp.), the most common plant community on old, stable, acidic landscapes in the region. This is the dominant plant community in unit four on the Upper Kuparuk River region, Toolik Lake area and Toolik Lake grid vegetation maps. Photo: D.A. Walker.
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Upper Kuparuk River Region published map

Figure 11. Blockfield with Cetraria nigricans-Rhizocarpon geographicum, unit two on the Upper Kuparuk River region, Toolik Lake area and Toolik Lake grid vegetation maps. Photo: D.A. Walker.
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Upper Kuparuk River Region published map

Figure 12. Close-up of Carex bigelowii-Dryas integrifolia, the dominant vegetation on mesic non-acidic tundra sites on Itkillik-age glacial surfaces, unit five on the Upper Kuparuk River region, Toolik Lake area and Toolik Lake grid vegetation maps. Photo: D.A. Walker.
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Upper Kuparuk River Region published map

Figure 13. Fen with Carex aquatilis-C. chordorrhiza, a major component of unit seven on the Upper Kuparuk River region and Toolik Lake area vegetation maps, and unit nine on the Toolik Lake grid vegetation map. Photo: D.A. Walker.
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Upper Kuparuk River Region published map

Figure 14. Dry south-facing slope on kame with Dryas octopetala-Seloginella sibirica, unit nine on the Upper Kuparuk River region and Toolik Lake area vegetation maps and unit 13 on the Toolik Lake grid vegetation map. Photo: D.A. Walker.
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Upper Kuparuk River Region published map

Figure 15. Deep, late-melting snowbed with Salix rotundifolia (at stake). Dark-colored vegetation above the stake is Cassiope tetragona-Dryas integrifolia, a common component of unit 11 on the Upper Kuparuk River region and Toolik Lake area vegetation maps and unit 17 on the Toolik Lake grid vegetation map. Photo: D.A. Walker.
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Upper Kuparuk River Region published map

Figure 16. Well-developed water track with Salix pulchra-Eriophorum angustifolium, a common component of map unit 14 on the Upper Kuparuk River region and Toolik Lake area vegetation maps and unit 23 on the Toolik Lake grid vegetation map. Photo: D.A. Walker.
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About the map

The upper Kuparuk River region has terrain typical of the Southern Foothills of the Brooks Range, including landscapes affected by three major glacial events. Map A shows the vegetation of the upper Kuparuk River region at 1:63,360-scale. Other maps show a false-color infrared satellite image, glacial geology, surficial geomorphology and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI/biomass) - all at 1:225,000-scale. Maps A (Vegetation) and C (Glacial Geology) were derived from a geobotanical map of the region. The base map for the geobotanical map was a 1:25,000-scale black-and-white orthophoto-topographic map that was prepared especially for this project by Vexcel Corp., Denver, CO in 1994 from stereo pairs of 1:60,000-scale, 9 x 9-inch color-infrared aerial photographs that were obtained by NASA in 1982. The base map was prepared without ground-control points, but was registered as closely as possible to the 1:63,360 USGS map of the region. Vegetation and other geobotanical features were mapped by photo-interpretation onto 1:25,000-scale enlargements of the 1982 NASA aerial photographs. The minimum mapping unit was approximately 0.6 ha (1/8" at 1:25,000-scale). No formal accuracy assessment was performed, but 320 of the map polygons representing 3.2% of the total map polygons, and about 16% of the total map area were checked on the ground during helicopter-assisted transects in 1994. Geobotanical variables coded for each map polygon included: primary vegetation, secondary vegetation, tertiary vegetation, landform, surface deposit, primary surficial geomorphology and secondary surficial geomorphology. Secondary and tertiary types are subdominant types that cover more than 30% of a map polygon. The geobotanical map was made using methods and legends specially developed for northern Alaska (Walker et al. 1980, 1986, 1989). The GIS was developed following the integrated terrain-unit mapping approach (Dangermond and Harnden 1990). The resulting geobotanical maps were presented at conferences in 1996 (e.g., Walker et al. 1996) but remained unpublished until now. In 2007 the map boundaries were modified to register with a recent digital elevation model (DEM) of the Kuparuk River region (Nolan 2003) and the 1989 Système Probatoire d’Observation de la Terre (SPOT) image of the region (Map B, False-Color Infrared Image). The legends were also modified to better fit the hierarchy of other maps in the Toolik-Arctic Geobotanical Atlas.

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