Short Name:

ABoVE: Lichen Forage Cover over Fortymile Caribou Range, Alaska and Yukon, 2000-2015

This dataset provides modeled estimates of lichen ground cover at 30 m resolution across the Fortymile study area in interior eastern Alaska, U.S., and the Yukon Territory, Canada, for the nominal year 2015. The mapped lichens are important winter forage for the nine resident caribou (Rangifer tarandus) herds in the region. A random forest modeling approach with vegetation inputs and environmental and spectral predictors was used to estimate lichen cover for 2015. Input data for the model were aggregated from historical in-situ vegetation plots, visual aerial surveys, and recent unmanned aerial system (UAS) imagery to align with 30 m resolution Landsat pixels over the 583,200 km2 study area. The model was also used to estimate lichen cover for the year 2000 by applying the trained model to historical Landsat imagery. An estimate of lichen volume in 2015, based on a published algorithm, is also provided. In addition, site-level presence-absence maps at <1 m resolution and site-level lichen cover maps at both 2 m and 30 resolution are provided. Site-level data were derived from high-resolution RGB imagery collected in summer 2017 from UASs at 22 forested and alpine sites across interior Alaska and western Yukon. Due to the use of two unique UAS imagers at 7 sites, there are 29 data collections across the 22 sites. Each UAS data collection is associated with three data files. These landscape-scale maps could be useful for understanding trends in lichen abundance and distribution, as well as for caribou research, management, and conservation.

Map of Earth