Spatio-Temporal Dynamics of Vegetation and Their Relationships with Climate in Southeast Asia Based on Three Satellite NDVI Products

Friday, 19 December 2014
Yuan Zhang, Zhenzhong Zeng and Shilong Piao, Peking University, Beijing, China
Tropical vegetation plays an essential role for global biogeochemical cycles. An abundant literature focused on the vegetation dynamics in Amazon. It is shown that the Amazonian rainforest is strongly controlled by radiation, even during dry season. However, only few researches deal with tropical rainforest in Southeast Asia; the vegetation dynamics in Southeast Asia remain poorly understood. In this study, we investigated the spatio-temporal dynamics of vegetation in Southeast Asia with three independent satellite derived Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) products (GIMMS AVHRR NDVI3g, SPOT, and MODIS) as well as the recently developed Sun Induced chlorophyll Fluorescence (SIF). We furthermore examined how climate drivers (precipitation, temperature and radiation) exert influences on the vegetation dynamics. We find that the three NDVI datasets are generally consistent with each other. At seasonal scale, NDVI decreases from the beginning to the end of the dry season; at interannual scale, dry season NDVI is positively correlated to precipitation but negatively correlated to radiation, while wet season NDVI is positively correlated to radiation. Compared to evergreen forests, deciduous forests have a larger NDVI decrease rate and more extended area with positive relationships between NDVI and precipitation during the dry season. SIF is lower during dry season than during wet season. Our results indicate that most forests in Southeast Asia, unlike in the Amazonian basin, are water-limited in the dry season but radiation-limited in the wet season. These results imply that droughts may have a stronger impact on forests in Southeast Asia than in Amazon.