Arid Ecosystems

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 179–186 | Cite as

NDVI for Monitoring of the State of Steppe and Desert Ecosystems of the Gobi

  • P. D. GuninEmail author
  • V. P. DedkovEmail author
  • E. V. Danzhalova
  • S. N. Bazha
  • A. N. ZolotokrylinEmail author
  • T. I. KazantsevaEmail author


The current state of the dry-steppe, desert-steppe, mountain-steppe, and desert ecosystems of the Gobi Desert (Mongolia) has been studied. In the dry steppes and steppe deserts, not only is there a decrease in the phytocenotic indicators of plant communities and deterioration of the state of dominants, but also a change in their composition has been revealed. Thus, there was a replacement of typical grass species of dry steppes (Stipa krylovii, Agropyron cristatum, etc.) with desert-steppe species (Allium polyrrhizum). In steppe deserts, the role of herbal species (Stipa glareosa and Cleistogenes songorica) in the community structure significantly decreased, and the proportion of desert shrubs (Anabasis brevifolia and Salsola passerina) increased. The vegetation of true and extremely arid deserts turned to be the most resistant to aridization and increased pasture loads. The changes were revealed only in the Sympegma community, where a significant decrease in the abundance of Sympegma regelii was observed. A mismatch has been found between the values of the NDVI index obtained remotely from Landsat 8 images and the phytocoenotic indices determined in field studies. The data from field spectrometry of the dominant species and the surface of soils and plant communities showed that the soil background plays a significant role in formation of spectral images of plant communities, especially with low projective cover.


dry steppes desert steppes mountain steppes steppe deserts true deserts extremely arid deserts Gobi NDVI field spectrometry 



The work was conducted as part of the Research Program and with the financial support of the Joint Russian-Mongolian Complex Biological Expedition (JRMCBE) of the Russian and Mongolian Academies of Sciences.


Conflict of interest. The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. Statement of the welfare of animals. This article does not contain any studies involving animals or human participants performed by any of the authors.


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© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Russian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal UniversityKaliningradRussia
  3. 3.Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia
  4. 4.Komarov Botanical Institute, Russian Academy of SciencesSt. PetersburgRussia

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