Abstract for F031


Polar Tundra & Barrens
Toundra et milieux dénudés de la zone polaire


Upland or dry tundra exists at the high latitudes north of 60 degrees N in the Arctic region and south of 50 degrees S in the Antarctic region. The vegetation growth forms are varied and often form complex patterns of dominance by dwarf-shrubs, sedges and grasses, mosses and lichens, and creeping or matted herbs. In many tundra areas, the deep layers of the soil are permanently frozen, and only the surface layer is thawed and becomes biologically active during the summer. The Low Arctic region typically contains continuous vegetation cover (80-100%), except in rocky places, and contains the typical mix of dwarf-shrubs, sedges and grasses, mosses and lichens. Tundra also occurs in the High Arctic, and plants are primarily lichens and mosses with scattered herbs. The High Arctic has fine soil material, and can be wet and strongly influenced by cryoturbation, with more sparse vegetation.

Source: Faber-Langendoen, D., T. Keeler-Wolf, D. Meidinger, C. Josse, A. Weakley, D. Tart, G. Navarro, B. Hoagland, S. Ponomarenko, J.-P. Saucier, G. Fults, E. Helmer. 2014. Classification and description of world formation types. Part I (Introduction) and Part II (Description of world formations). Hierarchy Revisions Working Group, Federal Geographic Data Committee, FGDC Secretariat, U.S. Geological Survey. Reston, VA, and NatureServe, Arlington, VA.

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