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sPlotOpen – An environmentally balanced, open-access, global dataset of vegetation plots


Sabatini, Francesco Maria; Lenoir, Jonathan; Hattab, Tarek; Arnst, Elise Aimee; Chytrý, Milan; Dengler, Jürgen; et al; Kessler, Michael (2021). sPlotOpen – An environmentally balanced, open-access, global dataset of vegetation plots. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 30(9):1740-1764.

Abstract

Motivation: Assessing biodiversity status and trends in plant communities is critical for understanding, quantifying and predicting the effects of global change on ecosystems. Vegetation plots record the occurrence or abundance of all plant species co-occurring within delimited local areas. This allows species absences to be inferred, information seldom provided by existing global plant datasets. Although many vegetation plots have been recorded, most are not available to the global research community. A recent initiative, called ‘sPlot’, compiled the first global vegetation plot database, and continues to grow and curate it. The sPlot database, however, is extremely unbalanced spatially and environmentally, and is not open-access. Here, we address both these issues by (a) resampling the vegetation plots using several environmental variables as sampling strata and (b) securing permission from data holders of 105 local-to- regional datasets to openly release data. We thus present sPlotOpen, the largest open-access dataset of vegetation plots ever released. sPlotOpen can be used to explore global diversity at the plant community level, as ground truth data in remote sensing applications, or as a baseline for biodiversity monitoring. Main types of variable contained: Vegetation plots (n = 95,104) recording cover or abundance of naturally co-occurring vascular plant species within delimited areas. sPlotOpen contains three partially overlapping resampled datasets (c. 50,000 plots each), to be used as replicates in global analyses. Besides geographical location, date, plot size, biome, elevation, slope, aspect, vegetation type, naturalness, coverage of various vegetation layers, and source dataset, plot-level data also include community-weighted means and variances of 18 plant functional traits from the TRY Plant Trait Database. Spatial location and grain: Global, 0.01–40,000 m². Time period and grain: 1888–2015, recording dates. Major taxa and level of measurement: 42,677 vascular plant taxa, plot-level records. Software format: Three main matrices (.csv), relationally linked.

Abstract

Motivation: Assessing biodiversity status and trends in plant communities is critical for understanding, quantifying and predicting the effects of global change on ecosystems. Vegetation plots record the occurrence or abundance of all plant species co-occurring within delimited local areas. This allows species absences to be inferred, information seldom provided by existing global plant datasets. Although many vegetation plots have been recorded, most are not available to the global research community. A recent initiative, called ‘sPlot’, compiled the first global vegetation plot database, and continues to grow and curate it. The sPlot database, however, is extremely unbalanced spatially and environmentally, and is not open-access. Here, we address both these issues by (a) resampling the vegetation plots using several environmental variables as sampling strata and (b) securing permission from data holders of 105 local-to- regional datasets to openly release data. We thus present sPlotOpen, the largest open-access dataset of vegetation plots ever released. sPlotOpen can be used to explore global diversity at the plant community level, as ground truth data in remote sensing applications, or as a baseline for biodiversity monitoring. Main types of variable contained: Vegetation plots (n = 95,104) recording cover or abundance of naturally co-occurring vascular plant species within delimited areas. sPlotOpen contains three partially overlapping resampled datasets (c. 50,000 plots each), to be used as replicates in global analyses. Besides geographical location, date, plot size, biome, elevation, slope, aspect, vegetation type, naturalness, coverage of various vegetation layers, and source dataset, plot-level data also include community-weighted means and variances of 18 plant functional traits from the TRY Plant Trait Database. Spatial location and grain: Global, 0.01–40,000 m². Time period and grain: 1888–2015, recording dates. Major taxa and level of measurement: 42,677 vascular plant taxa, plot-level records. Software format: Three main matrices (.csv), relationally linked.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany
07 Faculty of Science > Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center
Dewey Decimal Classification:580 Plants (Botany)
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > Global and Planetary Change
Life Sciences > Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Physical Sciences > Ecology
Uncontrolled Keywords:Ecology, Global and Planetary Change, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Language:English
Date:1 September 2021
Deposited On:28 Jun 2021 10:59
Last Modified:25 Feb 2024 02:40
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:1466-822X
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/geb.13346
Project Information:
  • : FunderFP7
  • : Grant ID316549
  • : Project TitleIT-LIVER - STRATEGY TO INHIBIT TGF-Beta IN LIVER DISEASE
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID20BD21_184131
  • : Project TitleFutureWeb
  • : FunderH2020
  • : Grant ID640176
  • : Project TitleBACI - Detecting changes in essential ecosystem and biodiversity properties â�� towards a Biosphere Atmosphere Change Index: BACI
  • : FunderH2020
  • : Grant ID640176
  • : Project TitleBACI - Detecting changes in essential ecosystem and biodiversity properties â�� towards a Biosphere Atmosphere Change Index: BACI
  • Content: Published Version
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)