Plant and Soil

, Volume 340, Issue 1–2, pp 181–198 | Cite as

Spatiotemporal variability of grassland vegetation cover in a catchment in Inner Mongolia, China, derived from MODIS data products

  • David Schaffrath
  • Frauke Katrin Barthold
  • Christian Bernhofer
Regular Article

Abstract

Conditions, distribution and development of vegetation in semi arid regions are highly variable. In this study we detected the temporal and spatial variability of vegetation in the Xilin river catchment from 2000 to 2008 by analysis of Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data products of that period. The study is based on LAI (Leaf area index) and supported by NDVI (Normalized difference vegetation index) and LST (Land surface temperature) data with a spatial resolution of 1 km. The mean LAI of the catchment from 2000 to 2008 is 0.59. Precipitation data of the study period governs the conditions and distribution of vegetation in the catchment. In dry years, e.g. 2001 and 2005, LAI was clearly lower (0.52) compared to 2003 (LAI = 0.72) which was a wet year. As precipitation generally decreases from south-east to north-west, LAI values decrease according to this gradient. The influence of heavy grazing in the vicinity of the Xilin river is obvious as LAI is low (0.4) in these areas. The high temporal variability of the LAI is displayed by its high mean CV (coefficient of variation) which is 48% for the observed years. The analysis of sample areas illustrates temporal and spatial differences in vegetation development within the catchment and shows a generally delayed growth start in the north-west of the catchment.

Keywords

LAI MODIS Variability Steppe Xilin Precipitation 

Abbrevations

CV

Coefficient of variation

GPCP

Global precipitation climatology project

IMAR

Inner Mongolia autonomous region

IMGERS

Inner Mongolia grassland ecosystem research station

LAI

Leaf area index

LST

Land surface temperature

MAGIM

Matter fluxes in grasslands of Inner Mongolia as influenced by stocking rate

MODIS

Moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer

NDVI

Normalized difference vegetation index

RSG

Reference Soil Group

SD

Standard deviation

UG79

Ungrazed since 1979

UTM

Universe transversal mercator

WRB

World reference base

XRC

Xilin river catchment

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Schaffrath
    • 1
  • Frauke Katrin Barthold
    • 2
  • Christian Bernhofer
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Hydrology and MeteorologyTechnische Universität DresdenDresdenGermany
  2. 2.Institute for Landscape Ecology and Resources Management, Research Centre for BioSystems, Land Use and Nutrition (IFZ)Justus-Liebig-University GiessenGiessenGermany

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