Publications

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; Ruffray, Patrice De; Hennekens, Stephan M.; Jandt, Ute; Jansen, Florian; Jiménez-Alfaro, Borja; Kattge, Jens; Levesley, Aurora; Pillar, Valério D.; Purschke, Oliver; Sandel, Brody; Sultana, Fahmida; Aavik, Tsipe; Aćić, Svetlana; Acosta, Alicia T.R.; Agrillo, Emiliano; Alvarez, Miguel; Apostolova, Iva; Arfin Khan, Mohammed A.S.; Arroyo, Luzmila; Attorre, Fabio; Aubin, Isabelle; Banerjee, Arindam; Bauters, Marijn; Bergeron, Yves; Bergmeier, Erwin; Biurrun, Idoia; Bjorkman, Anne D.; Bonari, Gianmaria; Bondareva, Viktoria; Brunet, Jörg; Čarni, Andraž; Casella, Laura; Cayuela, Luis; Černý, Tomáš; Chepinoga, Victor; Csiky, János; Ćušterevska, Renata; Bie, Els De; Gasper, André Luis de; Sanctis, Michele De; Dimopoulos, Panayotis; Dolezal, Jiri; Dziuba, Tetiana; El-Sheikh, Mohamed A.; Enquist, Brian; Ewald, Jörg; Fazayeli, Farideh; Field, Richard; Finckh, Manfred; Gachet, Sophie; Galán-de-Mera, Antonio; Garbolino, Emmanuel; Gholizadeh, Hamid; Giorgis, Melisa; Golub, Valentin; Alsos, Inger Greve; Grytnes, John Arvid; Guerin, Gregory Richard; Gutiérrez, Alvaro G.; Haider, Sylvia; Hatim, Mohamed Z.; Hérault, Bruno; Hinojos Mendoza, Guillermo; Hölzel, Norbert; Homeier, Jürgen; Hubau, Wannes; Indreica, Adrian; Janssen, John A.M.; Jedrzejek, Birgit; Jentsch, Anke; Jürgens, Norbert; Kącki, Zygmunt; Kapfer, Jutta; Karger, Dirk Nikolaus; Kavgacı, Ali; Kearsley, Elizabeth; Kessler, Michael; Khanina, Larisa; Killeen, Timothy; Korolyuk, Andrey; Kreft, Holger; Kühl, Hjalmar S.; Kuzemko, Anna; Landucci, Flavia; Lengyel, Attila; Lens, Frederic; Lingner, Débora Vanessa; Liu, Hongyan; Lysenko, Tatiana; Mahecha, Miguel D.; Marcenò, Corrado; Martynenko, Vasiliy; Moeslund, Jesper Erenskjold; Monteagudo Mendoza, Abel; Mucina, Ladislav; Müller, Jonas V.; Munzinger, Jérôme; Naqinezhad, Alireza; Noroozi, Jalil; Nowak, Arkadiusz; Onyshchenko, Viktor; Overbeck, Gerhard E.; Pärtel, Meelis; Pauchard, Aníbal; Peet, Robert K.; Peñuelas, Josep; Pérez-Haase, Aaron; Peterka, Tomáš; Petřík, Petr; Peyre, Gwendolyn; Phillips, Oliver L.; Prokhorov, Vadim; Rašomavičius, Valerijus; Revermann, Rasmus; Rivas-Torres, Gonzalo; Rodwell, John S.; Ruprecht, Eszter; Rūsiņa, Solvita; Samimi, Cyrus; Schmidt, Marco; Schrodt, Franziska; Shan, Hanhuai; Shirokikh, Pavel; Šibík, Jozef; Šilc, Urban; Sklenář, Petr; Škvorc, Željko; Sparrow, Ben; Sperandii, Marta Gaia; Stančić, Zvjezdana; Svenning, Jens Christian; Tang, Zhiyao; Tang, Cindy Q.; Tsiripidis, Ioannis; Vanselow, Kim André; Vásquez Martínez, Rodolfo; Vassilev, Kiril; Vélez-Martin, Eduardo; Venanzoni, Roberto; Vibrans, Alexander Christian; Violle, Cyrille; Virtanen, Risto; Wehrden, Henrik von; Wagner, Viktoria; Walker, Donald A.; Waller, Donald M.; Wang, Hua Feng; Wesche, Karsten; Whitfeld, Timothy J.S.; Willner, Wolfgang; Wiser, Susan K.; Wohlgemuth, Thomas; Yamalov, Sergey; Zobel, Martin; Bruelheide, Helge

Summary

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.