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Coastal wetland vegetation and elevation data characterizing a Sudden Vegetation Dieback event in San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge in 2019

January 28, 2022

Climatic extremes are becoming more frequent with climate change and have the potential to cause major ecological shifts and ecosystem collapse. Along the northern Gulf of Mexico, a coastal wetland in the San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge in Texas suffered significant and acute vegetation dieback following Hurricane Harvey in 2017. We identified plant zonal boundaries along an elevation gradient with drought-tolerant plant species, including succulents and graminoids, at higher elevations and flood-tolerant species, including Spartina alterniflora, at lower elevations. We measured mean canopy height for each species. Soil surface elevation was measured using Real-Time Kinematic (RTK) methods.