Happy Valley Permanent Vegetation Plots

Walker, D.A., Auerbach, N.A., Nettleton, T.K., Gallant, A., Murphy, S.M. 1997. Happy Valley Permanent Vegetation Plots: Site factors, physical and chemical soil properties, plant species cover, photographs, soil descriptions, and ordination. Arctic System Science Flux Study, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO.

Home // Preliminary vegetation classification // Vegetation communities and sites // Legend for environmental variables // Environmental data // Relevé size, percent cover // Soils data // Relevé species data //
Appendices: Field descriptions of soils // Plot and soil photos // Plot location map

Table 3. Sample site description data sheet including legend for environmental variables

PDF - MS Excel

Study Site:_____________________________________________________________Site Description
Releve No.:_______________Date:_______________Recording Personnel:________________________Weather:________________________
Slope (deg.):_______________Aspect:_______________Thaw depth (cm)_______________
Vegetation (describe moisture status, dominant species in each layer, dominant growth forms, and physiognomic unit):


1. Hills (including kames and moraines)
2. Talus slope
3. Colluvial basin
4. Glaciofluvial and other fluvial terraces
5. Marine terrace
6. Floodplains
7. Drained lakes and flat lake margins
8. Abandoned point bars and sloughs
9. Estuary
10. Lake or pond
11. Stream
12. Sea bluff
13. Lake bluff
14. Stream bluff
15. Sand dunes
16. Beach
17. Disturbed
18. Drainage channel
1. Frost-scar element
2. Inter-frost scar element
3. Strang or hummock
4. Flark, interstrang, or interhummock area
5. Polygon center
6. Polygon trough
7. Polygon rim
8. Stripe element
9. Inter-stripe element
10. Point bar (raised element)
11. Slough (wet element)
12. Wet element of water track
13. Moist, raised element of water track
14. None
Soil Units
1. Pergelic Cryorthent, acid
2. Pergelic Cryopsamment
3. Pergelic Cryohemist, euic
4. Pergelic Cryosaprist, euic
5. Lithic Pergelic Cryosaprist
6. Pergelic Cryofibrist, euic
7. Histic Pergelic Cryaquept, acid
8. Histic Pergelic Cryaquept, nonacid
9. Pergelic Cryaquept, acid
10. Pergelic Cryaquept, nonacid
11. Pergelic Cryochrept
12. Pergelic Cryumbrept
13. Ruptic-Lithic Cryumbrept
14. Pergelic Cryaquoll
15. Histic Pergelic Cryaquoll
16. Pergelic Cryoboroll
17. Pergelic Cryofluvent
18. Alcic Pergelic Cryochrept
19. Pergelic Cryoshpagnofibrist
20. Ruptic Histic Pergelic Cryaquept Non acid
21. Ruptic Pergelic Cryaquept
22. Cryophasment
Surficial Geology (Parent Material)
1. Glacial tills
2. Glaciofluvial deposits
3. Active alluvial sands
4. Active alluvial gravels
5. Stabilized alluvium (sands & gravels)
6. Undifferentiated hill slope colluvium
7. Basin colluvium and organic deposits
8. Drained lake or lacustrine organic deposits
9. Lake or pond organic, sand, or silt
10. Undifferentiated sands
11. Undifferentiated clay
12. Roads and gravel pads
13. Fine grained stabilized alluvium
Site Moisture (modified from Komárková 1983)
1. Extremely xeric - almost no moisture; no plant growth
2. Very xeric - very little moisture; dry sand dunes
3. Xeric - little moisture; stabilized sand dunes, dry ridge tops
4. Subxeric - noticeable moisture; well-drained slopes, ridges
5. Subxeric to mesic - very noticeable moisture; flat to gently sloping
6. Mesic-moderate moisture; flat or shallow depressions
7. Mesic to subhygric - considerable moisture; depressions
8. Subhygric - very considerable moisture; saturated but with < 5% standing water < cm deep
9. Hygric - much moisture; up to 100% of surface under water to 50 cm deep; lake margins, shallow ponds, streams
10. Hydric - very much moisture; 100% of surface under water 50 to 0 cm deep; lakes, streams
Exposure Scale
1. Protected from winds
2. Moderate exposure to winds
3. Exposed to winds
4. Very exposed to winds
Surficial Geomorphology
1. Frost scars
2. Wetland hummocks
3. Turf hummocks
4. Gelifluction features
5. Strangmoor or aligned hummocks
6. High- or flat-centered polygons
7. Mixed high- and low-centered polygons
8. Sorted and non-sorted stripes
9. Palsas
10. Thermokarst pits
11. Featureless or with less 20% frost scars
12. Well-developed hillslope water tracksand small streams > 50 cm deep
13. Poorly developed hillslope water tracks, <50 cm deep
14. Gently rolling or irregular microrelief
15. Stoney surface
16. Lakes and ponds
17. Disturbed
18. Island in water track
19. Well developed water track
Soil Moisture (modified from Komárková 1983)
1. Very dry - very little moisture; soil does not stick together
2. Dry - little moisture; soil somewhat sticks together
3. Damp - noticeable moisture; soil sticks together but crumbles
4. Damp to moist - very noticeable moisture; soil clumps
5. Moist - moderate moisture; soil binds but can bebroken apart
6. Moist to wet - considerable moisture; soil binds and sticksto fingers
7. Wet - very considerable moisture; water drops can be squeezed out of soil
8. Very wet - much moisture can be squeezed out of soil
9. Saturated - very much moisture; water drips out of soil
10. Very saturated - extreme moisture; soil is more liquid than solid
Estimated Snow Duration
1. Snow free all year
2. Snow free most of winter; some snow cover persists after storm but is blown free soon afterward
3. Snow free prior to melt out but with snow most of winter
4. Snow free immediately after melt out
5. Snow bank persists 1-weeks after melt out
6. Snow bank persists 3-weeks after melt out
7. Snow bank persists 4-weeks after melt out
8. Snow bank persists 8-weeks after melt out
9. Very short snow free period
10. Deep snow all year
Glacial Geology
1. Till
2. Outwash
3. Bedrock
4. Alluvium
Animal and Human Disturbance
0. No sign present
1. Some sign present; no disturbance
2. Minor disturbance or extensive sign
3. Moderate disturbance; small dens or light grazing
4. Major disturbance; multiple dens or noticeable trampling
5. Very major disturbance; very extensive tunneling or large pit
Topographic Position
1. Hill crest or shoulder
2. Side slope
3. Footslope or toeslope
4. Flat
5. Drainage channel
6. Depression
7. Lake or pond
1. Stable
2. Subject to occasional disturbance
3. Subject to prolonged but slow disturbance such as solifluction
4. Annually disturbed
5. Disturbed more than once annually