Glossary

Biomass – the mass of plants and animals, both live and dead unless otherwise specified, usually measured per unit area.

Canopy – a layer of plants or leaves growing at the same height above the ground.

Flux - the amount of a substance such as water, heat, or a nutrient, flowing from or over a given area per unit time.

Ground truth – data collected on the ground to verify mapping from remote sensing data such as air photos or satellite imagery.

Land cover class – a unit used to map land surface cover, including both vegetation units and unvegetated units such as water, ice and rock.

Landsat MSS – Multispectral Scanner (MSS) data from a multispectral scanning radiometer that was carried by satellites Landsat1 through Landsat5.  The data consist of four spectral bands including visible green, visible red and near-infrared wavelengths, with a resolution (pixel size) of 79 m.

Leaf-area index - the area of leaves per ground surface area.

Microsite – Sites on a smaller scale than releves, such as a 1-10 cm scale.

Plant community – a group of plants that commonly grows together.

Phytomass – the mass of plants, including both live and dead, and above-ground and below-ground unless otherwise specified, usually measured per unit area.

Releve - subjectively located sample plot used to characterize plant communities through site characteristics and floristic composition.  The sites are chosen to be large enough to contains all species belonging to the plant community, the habitat should be uniform throughout the releve, and the plant cover should be as homogeneous as possible.

Zonal vegetation – vegetation within a bioclimate zone (or subzone) that ultimately develops on sites with moderate slope, soil, snow, site moisture, and disturbance.  Bioclimate zones are regions of the Earth’s surface with characteristic climate, flora, and vegetation.  Bioclimate subzones are subdivisions based on a combination of floristic composition, dominant plant community structure, and the suite of plant communities.