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The re-use of scientific data has the potential to greatly increase communication, collaboration and synthesis within and among disciplines, and thus is fostered, supported and encouraged. Permission to use this dataset is granted to the Data User free of charge subject to the following terms:

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Shaver, G. 1989. Above ground biomass in acidic tussock tundra experimental site, 1989, Arctic LTER, Toolik, Alaska. Arctic LTER, Marine Biological Lab, Woods Hole, Ma 02543. 1989gsttbm 

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Data sets were provided by the Arctic LTER. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grants #DEB-981022, 9211775, 8702328; #OPP-9911278, 9911681, 9732281, 9615411, 9615563, 9615942, 9615949, 9400722, 9415411, 9318529; #BSR 9019055, 8806635, 8507493.

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Dataset URLs:METADATA: HTML, Rich Text, XML(EML compliant)
DATA: Comma Delimited, Excel file with Metadata and data, Dataset via LTER Data Poral
Dataset ID:2004-2009gsITEXharvestindices.04
Dataset Title:Vegetation indices calculated for ITEX harvest plots in 2004-2009 at Toolik, Alaska; Abisko, Sweden; Svalbard, Norway; Zackenberg, Northeast Greenland; and Barrow, Alaska
Investigator 1: 
First Name:Gus
Last Name:Shaver
Organization:The Ecosystems Center, MBL
Address line 2:7 MBL St.
Address line 3:
City:Woods Hole
Zip Code:02543
Associate Investigators:
Keywords:canopies, reflectance, spectra, vegetation indices, radiation, irradiance, normalized difference vegetation index, MODIS, Enhanced Vegetation Index, Enhanced Vegetation Index 2, Photochemical Reflectance Index, Water Band Index, chlorophyll
Abstract: A spectrophotometer was used to scan the canopy vegetation of ITEX harvest plots. The resulting reflectance spectra were used to calculate several vegetation indices of interest (NDVI, EVI, EVI2, PRI, WBI, Chlorophyll Index). Average values of these vegetation indices for each ITEX harvest plot are presented here. These plots also had biomass harvests performed and were analyzed for leaf area and nitrogen content (see 2003-2009gsharvest.csv, 2003-2009gsharvestLAI-N.csv).
For questions about the Metadata and data contact the Investigators.
For information about this web site contact:
Arctic LTER Information Manager
The Ecosystems Center
Marine Biological Lab
7 MBL St
Woods Hole, MA 02543
Phone (508) 289 7496
Online URL:
Data File URL
Data File Name 2004-2009gsITEXharvestindices.csv
Beginning Date 7/15/2004
End Date 8/14/2009
Number of Data Records 137
Other Files to Reference 2004-2009gsITEXharvestspectra.csv, 2003-2009gsharvestLAI-N.csv, 2003-2009gsharvest.csv, 2004-2009gsITEXfluxspectra.csv,2004-2009gsITEXfluxindices.csv
Availability Status type 1
Quality Control Information Reflectance values of less than zero or greater than one were replaced with "NaN" before indices were calculated
Maintenance Description
Log of Changes: Updated Metadata sheet
Version 2: Updated to newer metadata with site sheet. CH March 2013.
Version 3: Corrected eml excel file name wrong extension. JimL 16May13
Version 4: Corrected Distrubution URL. It had xlsfiles in the path. Jim L 19Jun14
RESEARCH LOCATION:                  
Location Name Toolik Field Station Imnavait Creek Abisko Stepps Abisko Paddus Abisko Latnjajare Adventdalen Svalbard, Norway Zackenberg Greenland Barrow Alaska  
Geographic Description Toolik Lake (68 degrees 38N, 149 degrees 34W) Imnavait Creek (68 degrees 37N, 149 degrees 18W) Alaska, U.S. "Stepps" site (68 degrees 18N, 18 degrees 51E) near Abisko, Sweden. Paddus (68 degrees 19N, 18 degrees 51E) near Abisko, Sweden. Latnjajaure (68 degrees 21N, 18 degrees 30E) near Abisko, Sweden. Adventdalen (78 degrees 13N, 15 degrees 38E) Svalbard, Norway. Zackenberg research area zone 1a (7428 N, 2034 W), Northeast Greenland. Barrow ( 71 18' N, 156 36' W) Alaska, USA.  
Location Bounding Box                  
West Bounding Coordinate                  
East Bounding Coordinate                  
North Bounding Coordinate                  
South Bounding Coordinate                  
OR if single point location                  
Latitude 68.62405 68.6167 68.3 68.3167 68.35 78.2166666666667 74.4666666666667 71.31  
Longitude -149.61058 -149.31 18.85 18.85 18.5 15.6333333333333 -19.4333333333333 -156.6  
Link to Google Map View on Google Map View on Google Map View on Google Map View on Google Map View on Google Map View on Google Map View on Google Map View on Google Map  
Organisms studied
For each ITEX harvest plot, a spectrophotometer (Unispec SC, PP Systems, Amesbury, Massachusetts, USA) was used to scan the canopy vegetation and produce reflectance spectra. The end of the fibre optic was centered above the harvest frame and held at a height above the ground surface that resulted in a view of the vegetation approximately the size of the frame. For most plots, only one replicate scan was performed.

The Unispec SC instrument generates reflectance spectra by measuring incoming irradiance and radiance reflected by the canopy vegetation. A foreoptic cable (UNI-684) extending from the machine is equipped with a ferrule over which a 100mm hypotube (UNI-688) is placed. This produces a field of view that extends at an angle of 20 degrees from the end of the hypotube. The hypotube is held vertically over the target vegetation during a data scan. The foreoptic cable is connected to a miniature photodiode array detector in the instrument that produce signals ranging from zero to 65,000 A/D counts for 256 wavebands. These wavebands represent 3.3 nm wide portions of the visible and near infrared spectrum from 310 to 1100 nm. A scan is performed over a period of milliseconds with the exact integration time determined by the user based on current light conditions.

At the time of data collection, a reference scan is performed by positioning the foreoptic cable over a white standard (UNI-420). This reference scan represents the incoming irradiance due to the highly reflective nature of the white standard. A dark scan is also performed by covering the foreoptic with a dark cloth. The raw signal from the dark scan is used by the machine to correct for background noise. Canopy reflectance is calculated for each waveband as follows using the program Multispec (available at

Reflectance= (Icanopy / Ireference)

Icanopy= signal from foreoptic during data scan (radiance reflected from target vegetation)
Ireference= signal from the foreoptic during reflectance scan (incoming irradiance)

In most cases, data was processed and immediately interpolated from 3.3nm wavebands to single nanometer intervals in the Multispec program. For some of the data presented here, the reflectance spectra was originally produced for only for 3.3nm wavebands. This data was later linearly interpolated to produce spectra with 1 nm intervals to allow for compilation into this database.

Reflectance spectra were used to calculate the following vegetation indices for each replicate scan performed. Indices from replicate scans were then averaged to produce the values and standard deviations presented here.

Reflectance values equal to or less than zero were replaced with "NaN" before vegetation indices were calculated.
Reflectance values equal to or greater than one were also replaced with "NaN" before vegetation indices were calculated.


For MODIS indices, Spectral bands are defined as follows:




Normalized Difference Vegetation Index

NDVI (MODIS) = (NIR-Red)/(NIR+Red)
Enhanced Vegetation Index

EVI (MODIS) =2.5*(NIR-Red)/(NIR+6*Red-7.5*Blue+1)
Enhanced Vegetation Index 2

EVI2 (MODIS) =2.5*((NIR-Red)/(NIR+2.4*Red+1))
Photochemical Reflective Index

PRI (550 Reference) =(550nm-531nm)/(550nm+531nm)
Photochemical Reflective Index

PRI (570 Ref) = (570nm -531nm)/(570nm+531nm)
Water Band Index

WBI= 900nm/970nm
Chlorophyll Index



Toolik, AK, USA 2004
18 - 20x20 cm quadrat harvests were collected around Toolik Lake (16 harvests) and the Imnavait Creek watershed (2 harvests). All Toolik Lake harvests were from fertilized plots at the Toolik Lake Long Term Ecological Research Sites.

Abisko, Sweden 2005
12 - 26cm diameter harvests were taken from within ITEX flux plots.

Zackenberg, Greenland 2006
30 - 26cm diameter harvests

Barrow, AK, USA 2009
23- 20 cm diameter harvests

Toolik, AK, USA 2009
54- 20 cm diameter harvests

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Gus Shaver, The Ecosystems Center, Woods Hole, MA, 02543, USA

2004-2009gsITEXfluxindices.csv (average vegetation indices calculated for all collection days)
2004-2009gsITEXfluxspectra.csv(full reflectance spectra for all ITEX flux plots)
2004-2009gsITEXharvestspectra.csv(full reflectance spectra for all ITEX harvest plots)
2003-2009gsharvest.csv(Data from biomass harvest of ITEX flux plots)
2003-2009gsharvestLAI-N.csv (LAI and N content of biomass harvest of ITEX harvest plots)


Data Table

Variable Name Variable Description Data Type Units DateTime Format Code Information Missing Value Code
YEAR Year scan was made datetime   YYYY    
DATE Date scan was made datetime   DD-MMM-YYYY    
SITE Site where the plot is located text        
GROUP Group plot is associated with, subset of site text        
PLOT Plot identifier for area where scan was performed text        
TREAT Experimental treatment plot is undergoing text        
VEGETATION General description of canopy vegetation text        
PLOT SIZE Area of harvest plot text        
Count of REP Number of replicate scans performed on the plot. Index values were calculated for each scan and then averaged. number dimensionless      
Average of NDVI (MODIS) Average value of calculated NDVI (see METHODS, CALCULATIONS) number dimensionless     #N/A=Missing or Not Measured
StdDev of NDVI (MODIS) Standard Deviation of averaged NDVI (see METHODS, CALCULATIONS) number dimensionless     #N/A=Missing or Not Measured
Average of EVI (MODIS) Average value of calculated EVI (see METHODS, CALCULATIONS) number dimensionless     #N/A=Missing or Not Measured
StdDev of EVI (MODIS) Standard Deviation of averaged EVI (see METHODS, CALCULATIONS) number dimensionless     #N/A=Missing or Not Measured
Average of EVI2 (MODIS) Average value of calculated EVI2 (see METHODS, CALCULATIONS) number dimensionless     #N/A=Missing or Not Measured
StdDev of EVI2 (MODIS) Standard Deviation of averaged EVI2 (see METHODS, CALCULATIONS) number dimensionless     #N/A=Missing or Not Measured
Average of PRI (550 Reference) Average value of calculated PRI, 550 reference (see METHODS, CALCULATIONS) number dimensionless     #N/A=Missing or Not Measured
StdDev of PRI (550 Reference) Standard Deviation of averaged PRI, 550 reference (see METHODS, CALCULATIONS) number dimensionless     #N/A=Missing or Not Measured
Average of PRI (570 Reference) Average value of calculated PRI, 570 reference (see METHODS, CALCULATIONS) number dimensionless     #N/A=Missing or Not Measured
StdDev of PRI (570 Reference) Standard Deviation of averaged PRI, 570 reference (see METHODS, CALCULATIONS) number dimensionless     #N/A=Missing or Not Measured
Average of WBI Average value of calculated WBI (see METHODS, CALCULATIONS) number dimensionless     #N/A=Missing or Not Measured
StdDev of WBI Standard Deviation of average WBI (see METHODS, CALCULATIONS) number dimensionless     #N/A=Missing or Not Measured
Average of CHL Average value of calculated CHL (see METHODS, CALCULATIONS) number dimensionless     #N/A=Missing or Not Measured
StdDev of CHL Standard Deviation of averaged CHL (see METHODS, CALCULATIONS) number dimensionless     #N/A=Missing or Not Measured

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