Hofgaard, A, Rees, G, Tommervik, H, Tutubalina, O, Golubeva, E, Lukina, N, Hogda, KA, Karlsen, SR, Isaeva, L, Kharuk, V (2010). Role of disturbed vegetation in mapping the boreal zone in northern Eurasia. APPLIED VEGETATION SCIENCE, 13(4), 460-472.
Question: Is there a need for disturbance mapping integrated in the CircumBoreal Vegetation Mapping Program? Location: Eurasian boreal forest. Disturbance and mapping: The boreal zone is characterized by a multitude of natural and anthropogenic disturbance agents with importance over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. Disturbance is a prime driver of succession in most of the boreal zone, producing landscape diversity characterized by a large-scale vegetation mosaic of early to late succession states. When mapping the circumboreal vegetation, spatial extent, time involved from disturbance to recovered condition and likelihood of interacting disturbance types are crucial for how current vegetation is interpreted and subsequently included as map characteristics. In this paper we present examples from the boreal zone where natural and/or anthropogenic disturbance regimes dominate the state and distribution of vegetation, and possibilities for assessing the nature and extent of the disturbed regions using remotely sensed data. Conclusion: Disturbed vegetation occupies large areas in the boreal zone and related vegetation successions should be adequately represented when mapping the zone. In regions where the 'potential natural vegetation' is a hypothetical reconstruction from remnants of 'natural' vegetation it would be preferable to use the concept of 'actual real vegetation' for which remote sensing at coarse, medium and fine resolution is an efficient tool. The Land Cover Classification System (LCCS) may offer sufficient flexibility to incorporate information about the disturbance of circumboreal vegetation.