Polar Record


A satellite-based map compared to a traditional vegetation map of Arctic vegetation in the Ny-Ålesund area, Svalbard

Sigmund Spjelkavika1

a1 The University Courses on Svalbard, PO Box 156, N-9170 Longyearbyen, Norway


An area of Arctic vegetation on Brøggerhalvøya in the northwestern part of Spitsbergen, was studied. A classified Landsat-TM image with 57 land-cover classes (LCCs) was compared to an existing vegetation map with a comparison matrix. The 57 LCCs were grouped in seven different groups, where the seventh group contained 15 LCCs with vegetation. The other groups were regarded as non-vegetated. The correspondence between the existing vegetation map and the satellite-based vegetation map was not high, but the classes from the satellite-based land-cover map could be interpreted in botanical terms. A vegetation index (VI) was used to discriminate between vegetated and non-vegetated LCCs. The VI was correlated to plant biomass measurements, and the total plant biomass for Brøggerhalvøya was estimated. The estimated biomass coincided with other estimates from the same area.

(Received July 1994)