A ground-validated NDVI dataset for monitoring vegetation dynamics and mapping phenology in Fennoscandia and the Kola peninsula
ABSTRACT An NDVI dataset covering Fennoscandia and the Kola peninsula was created for vegetation and climate studies, using Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer 16-day maximum value composite data from 2000 to 2005. To create the dataset, (1) the influence of the polar night and snow on the NDVI values was removed by replacing NDVI values in winter with a pixel-specific NDVI value representing the NDVI outside the growing season when the pixel is free of snow; and (2) yearly NDVI time series were modelled for each pixel using a double logistic function defined by six parameters. Estimates of the onset of spring and the end of autumn were then mapped using the modelled dataset and compared with ground observations of the onset of leafing and the end of leaf fall in birch, respectively. Missing and poor-quality data prevented estimates from being produced for all pixels in the study area. Applying a 5 km×5 km mean filter increased the number of modelled pixels without decreasing the accuracy of the predictions. The comparison shows good agreement between the modelled and observed dates (root mean square error = 12 days, n = 108 for spring; root mean square error = 10 days, n = 26, for autumn). Fennoscandia shows a range in the onset of spring of more than 2 months within a single year and locally the onset of spring varies with up to one month between years. The end of autumn varies by one and a half months across the region. While continued validation with ground data is needed, this new dataset facilitates the detailed monitoring of vegetation activity in Fennoscandia and the Kola peninsula.
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ABSTRACT: Chemical transport models (CTMs), used for the prediction of, for example, nitrogen deposition or air quality changes, require estimates of the growing season of plants for a number of reasons. Typically, the growing seasons are defined in a very simplified way in CTMs, using fixed dates or simple functions. In order to explore the importance of more realistic growing season estimates, we have developed a new and simple method (the T5 method) for calculating the start of the growing season (SGS) of birch (which we use as a surrogate for deciduous trees), suitable for use in CTMs and other modelling systems. We developed the T5 method from observations, and here we compare with these and other methodologies, and show that with just two parameters T5 captures well the spatial variation in SGS across Europe. We use the EMEP MSC-W chemical transport model to il-lustrate the importance of improved SGS estimates for ozone and two metrics associated with ozone damage to vegetation. This study shows that although inclusion of more realistic growing seasons has only small effects on annual average concentrations of pollutants such as ozone, the metrics asso-ciated with vegetation risk from ozone are significantly af-fected. This work demonstrates a strong need to include more re-alistic treatments of growing seasons in CTMs. The method used here could also be suitable for other types of models that require information on vegetation cover, such as meteo-rological and regional climate models. In future work, the T5 and other methods will be further evaluated for other forest species, as well as for agricultural and grassland land covers, which are important for emissions and deposition of reactive nitrogen compounds.Biogeosciences 11/2012; 9:5161-5179. · 3.75 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: This study investigates the ranging behavior of elephants in relation to precipitation-driven dynamics of vegetation. Movement data were acquired for five bachelors and five female family herds during three years in the Marsabit protected area in Kenya and changes in vegetation were mapped using MODIS normalized difference vegetation index time series (NDVI). In the study area, elevations of 650 to 1100 m.a.s.l experience two growth periods per year, while above 1100 m.a.s.l. growth periods last a year or longer. We find that elephants respond quickly to changes in forage and water availability, making migrations in response to both large and small rainfall events. The elevational migration of individual elephants closely matched the patterns of greening and senescing of vegetation in their home range. Elephants occupied lower elevations when vegetation activity was high, whereas they retreated to the evergreen forest at higher elevations while vegetation senesced. Elephant home ranges decreased in size, and overlapped less with increasing elevation. A recent hypothesis that ungulate migrations in savannas result from countervailing seasonally driven rainfall and fertility gradients is demonstrated, and extended to shorter-distance migrations. In other words, the trade-off between the poor forage quality and accessibility in the forest with its year-round water sources on the one hand and the higher quality forage in the low-elevation scrubland with its seasonal availability of water on the other hand, drives the relatively short migrations (the two main corridors are 20 and 90 km) of the elephants. In addition, increased intra-specific competition appears to influence the animals' habitat use during the dry season indicating that the human encroachment on the forest is affecting the elephant population.Movement ecology. 01/2014; 2(1):2.
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ABSTRACT: Many migrating herbivores rely on plant biomass to fuel their life cycles and have adapted to following changes in plant quality through time. The green wave hypothesis predicts that herbivorous waterfowl will follow the wave of food availability and quality during their spring migration. However, testing this hypothesis is hampered by the large geographical range these birds cover. The satellite-derived normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) time series is an ideal proxy indicator for the development of plant biomass and quality across a broad spatial area. A derived index, the green wave index (GWI), has been successfully used to link altitudinal and latitudinal migration of mammals to spatio-temporal variations in food quality and quantity. To date, this index has not been used to test the green wave hypothesis for individual avian herbivores. Here, we use the satellite-derived GWI to examine the green wave hypothesis with respect to GPS-tracked individual barnacle geese from three flyway populations (Russian n = 12, Svalbard n = 8, and Greenland n = 7). Data were collected over three years (2008-2010). Our results showed that the Russian and Svalbard barnacle geese followed the middle stage of the green wave (GWI 40-60%), while the Greenland geese followed an earlier stage (GWI 20-40%). Despite these differences among geese populations, the phase of vegetation greenness encountered by the GPS-tracked geese was close to the 50% GWI (i.e. the assumed date of peak nitrogen concentration), thereby implying that barnacle geese track high quality food during their spring migration. To our knowledge, this is the first time that the migration of individual avian herbivores has been successfully studied with respect to vegetation phenology using the satellite-derived GWI. Our results offer further support for the green wave hypothesis applying to long-distance migrants on a larger scale.PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(9):e108331. · 3.53 Impact Factor