A vegetation map of Svalbard on the scale 1:3.5 mill.
This map of dominant vegetation types in Svalbard includes polygons of 15 map units in addition to glaciated areas and the 200 and 400 m contour lines. All units are differentiated according to mean July temperature ranges of 2 °C, corresponding to the major bioclimatic units within the Arctic. This makes the map particularly relevant to climate change studies. Most units are also differentiated according to soil chemistry and hydrology. In addition, four units are defined according to manuring, aridity and substrate instability. Three of the map units represent the zonal vegetation of the three major bioclimatic units present in Svalbard.The map shows the following units which are rare on a circumpolar scale and concentrated to Svalbard: High arctic Potentilla pulchella steppes, high-arctic acidic fens, high arctic alkaline Poa alpina snow beds, Deschampsia alpina mires, moss tundras below bird cliffs, polar desert moss tundras, and acidic polar desert on granite. This represents a strong biogeographic and conservation aspect of the map, and emphasizes the Norwegian conservation responsibility for these vegetation types. The CAVM TEAM (2003) map defined most units circumpolarly, and did not focus on regional aspects. A comparison with the latter map which is on the scale 1:7.5 mill., also shows that more gradients, and a more complete cover of climatic and edaphic differentiations can be obtained by improving the scale to 1:3.5 mill.