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Quantified vegetation change over 42 years at Cape Hallett, East Antarctica

This paper reports on the remapping of a carefully documented vegetation plot at Cape Hallett (72°19′S 170°16′E) to provide an assessment of the rates of vegetation change over decadal time scales. E.D. Rudolph, in 1962, mapped in detail the vegetation of a site approximately 28 m by 120 m at Cape Hallett, Victoria Land, Antarctica. This site was relocated and remapped in January 2004 and changes were assessed using GIS techniques. This appears to be the longest available time period for assessing vegetation change in Antarctica. The analysis indicated that considerable change had occurred in moss and algae distribution patterns and this seems to have been caused by increased water supply, particularly in wetter areas. There was also evidence of some change in lichen distribution. The extent of the change indicates that vegetation cover can be used for monitoring change in areas as extreme as the Ross Sea region. For this analysis to be successful it was important that the mapping techniques used were totally explicit and could easily be replicated. Fortunately, Rudolph had defined his cover classes and the site was also clearly marked. The application of GIS mapping techniques allows the mapping to be more explicitly defined and easily replicated.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Brabyn, L., Beard, C., Seppelt, R. D., Rudolph, E. D., Türk, R. & Green, T.G.A. (2006). Quantified vegetation change over 42 years at Cape Hallett, East Antarctica. Antarctic Science, 18(04), 561-572.
Cambridge University Press
This article is published in the journal, Antarctic Science. Copyright © Antarctic Science Ltd 2006.