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Alaska Vegetation and Wetland Composite

photo of Alaska Peninsula near Aniakchak Bay

We do not plan further updates to the Alaska Vegetation and Wetland Composite (AKVWC). The AKVWC attempted to create a single composite map for Alaska by merging regional maps but doing so produced inconsistencies - abrupt spatial transitions that do not represent ecological realities but instead result from differences in classification schemes, methods, and images among regional maps. We encourage users to consider alternative maps, such as the Continuous Foliar Cover Maps for North American Beringia.

The Alaska Vegetation and Wetland Composite (AKVWC) represents the prioritized combined data derived from 28 regional land cover maps that have been developed within the last 31 years. The map is attributed with a uniform, two-tiered legend so that land cover classes that are similar in concept, yet different in nomenclature may be reconciled. These hierarchical levels of land cover classes are represented by a coarse-scale class, which is analogous to level III of the Alaska Vegetation Classification and fine-scale classes, which nest within the coarse-scale classes and are analogous to level IV of the Alaska Vegetation Classification (Viereck et al. 1992).

Mapping and conservation assessment of wetland ecosystems is a necessary step in promoting effective management of wetland habitats by providing a uniform and comprehensive inventory of both common and rare types. The statewide distribution of wetland, deepwater, and upland habitats presented here represents the first effort to map wetlands in accordance with the national wetland classification system at medium-scale resolution for Alaska. We inferred wetland and deepwater type and distribution using land cover and hydrographic data as proxy indicators.

Data and Resources

Release Date
Spatial / Geographical Coverage Area
POLYGON ((-156.62109375 71.502266015594, -160.3125 70.993716860458, -164.00390625 70.056218231101, -167.16796875 68.88529491756, -167.51953125 67.715695382429, -168.57421875 65.628823706475, -172.79296875 63.595004887552, -174.375 60.378575303227, -166.9921875 58.685503698438, -160.83984375 57.665972794009, -165.234375 55.637298574163, -176.484375 52.865813720428, -184.04296875 53.602284654011, -189.31640625 54.017452229774, -189.4921875 52.22443459872, -180.703125 51.134554691477, -169.62890625 51.134554691477, -161.3671875 54.017452229774, -154.3359375 56.032156723752, -151.875 57.759868346374, -148.88671875 59.319177740765, -145.01953125 59.498091519472, -140.80078125 59.139317334481, -138.33984375 57.759868346374, -135.52734375 55.933817894565, -133.06640625 54.530645128159, -130.60546875 54.6325178856, -128.3203125 55.835228822318, -135 60.291576510132, -137.4609375 59.853092200837, -140.2734375 60.810101896807, -140.80078125 69.814995754072, -149.765625 70.87889017463))
Spatial / Geographical Coverage Location
30 m
Alaska Center for Conservation Science
Contact Name
Timm Nawrocki
Contact Email
Public Access Level