Landscape Ecology

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 109–123 | Cite as

Green-up of deciduous forest communities of northeastern North America in response to climate variation and climate change

  • Yingying Xie
  • Kazi F. Ahmed
  • Jenica M. Allen
  • Adam M. Wilson
  • John A. SilanderJr.
Research Article


Temporal shifts in phenology are important biotic indicators of climate change. Satellite-derived Land Surface Phenology (LSP) offers data for the study of vegetation phenology at landscape to global spatial scales. However, the mechanisms of plant phenological responses to temperature are rarely considered at broad spatial scales, despite the potential improvements to spatiotemporal predictions. Geographical gradients in community species composition may also affect LSP spatially and temporally. Using a modified survival analysis, we reveal how weather and climate relate to physiological chilling and heating requirements and affect deciduous forest green-up in New England, USA over 9 years (2001–2009). While warm daily temperatures lead to earlier green-up of deciduous forests, chilling temperatures had a larger influence on green-up. We also found that the effects of community composition across the landscape were as important as the effects of weather. Greater oak dominance led to later green-up, while sites with more birch tended to have earlier green-up dates. Projection into the future (2046–2065) with statistically downscaled, bias corrected climate model output suggested advanced green-up (8–48 days) driven by higher heating and chilling accumulations, but green-up in coastal areas may be delayed due to reduced chilling accumulation. This study provides an innovative statistical method combining plant physiological mechanisms, topographic spatial heterogeneity, and species composition to predict how LSP responds to climate and weather variation and makes future projections.


Land surface phenology Bayesian survival model Chilling Spatial heterogeneity Species composition Vernalization New England 



This study was supported in part by an US National Science Foundation grant (DEB 0842465) to J.A.S. and by NASA headquarters under the NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship Program Grant NNX09AN82H to AMW. We thank R. B. Primack for helpful comments and X. Wang and A. E. Gelfand for statistical advice.

Supplementary material

10980_2014_99_MOESM1_ESM.docx (29 kb)
Supplementary Material 1: Model R code for green-up dates of deciduous forest community. Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 29 kb)
10980_2014_99_MOESM2_ESM.docx (919 kb)
Supplementary Material 2: Tables and figures. Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 920 kb)
10980_2014_99_MOESM3_ESM.docx (894 kb)
Supplementary Material 3: Spatio-temporal uncertainty in the MODIS phenology product and implications for the analyses and modeling thereof. Supplementary material 3 (DOCX 895 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yingying Xie
    • 1
  • Kazi F. Ahmed
    • 2
  • Jenica M. Allen
    • 1
  • Adam M. Wilson
    • 3
  • John A. SilanderJr.
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA
  3. 3.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyYale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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