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Monitoring Vegetation Response Based on Remote Sensing and Climate Data

A special issue of Remote Sensing (ISSN 2072-4292). This special issue belongs to the section "Remote Sensing in Agriculture and Vegetation".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 February 2024) | Viewed by 10338

Special Issue Editors

School of Remote Sensing and Information Engineering, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China
Interests: urban heat island; urbanization; vegetation; climate change; land surface phenology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
1. Sciences Faculty, Porto University (FCUP) Rua do Campo Alegre, s.n. 4169-007 Porto, Portugal
2. Researcher at Institute for Systems and Computer Engineering, Technology (INESC TEC) Portugal, R. Dr. Roberto Frias, Porto, Portugal
Interests: remote sensing; crop modelling; climate change; precision agriculture; orchards/vineyards monitoring
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Vegetation plays a key role in the earth system and has an important impact on carbon, water and energy cycles. Changes in vegetation can indirectly reflect changes in environmental quality and indicate climate and environment evolution. The accurate assessment of vegetation change (including vegetation cover, greenness, phenology, productivity, etc.) in response to climate change and human activity is of great significance to ensure environmental protection and sustainable development.

This Special Issue aims to enhance our understanding of vegetation change in response to climate change and human activity, which is an important branch of the field of remote sensing. We invite authors to contribute papers to this Special Issue to improve and consolidate our current knowledge of this field. Manuscripts related to theories, methods and applications are equally welcome.

Submissions may include, but are not limited to:

  • Vegetation cover change;
  • Vegetation phenology change;
  • Vegetation productivity change;
  • Crop yield change;
  • Response of vegetation to climate and human activity;
  • Effect of vegetation on environment.

Dr. Rui Yao
Dr. Mario Cunha
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Remote Sensing is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • vegetation cover
  • vegetation phenology
  • vegetation productivity
  • crop yield
  • NDVI/EVI/LAI
  • climate change
  • human activity
  • detection/monitoring

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Published Papers (9 papers)

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19 pages, 6160 KiB  
Article
The Spatio-Temporal Variation of Vegetation and Its Driving Factors during the Recent 20 Years in Beijing
by Siya Chen, Luyan Ji, Kexin Li, Peng Zhang and Hairong Tang
Remote Sens. 2024, 16(5), 851; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs16050851 - 29 Feb 2024
Viewed by 466
Abstract
As the most important city in China, Beijing has experienced an economic soar, large-scale population growth and eco-environment changes in the last 20 years. Evaluating climate- and human-induced vegetation changes could reveal the relationship of vegetation-climate-human activities and provide important insights for the [...] Read more.
As the most important city in China, Beijing has experienced an economic soar, large-scale population growth and eco-environment changes in the last 20 years. Evaluating climate- and human-induced vegetation changes could reveal the relationship of vegetation-climate-human activities and provide important insights for the coordination of economic growth and environmental protection. Based on a long-term MODIS vegetation index dataset, meteorological data (temperature, precipitation) and impervious surface data, the Theil-Sen regression and the Mann-Kendall method are used to estimate vegetation change trends in this study and the residual analysis is utilized to distinguish the impacts of climate factors and human activities on vegetation restoration and degradation from 2000 to 2019 in Beijing. Our results show that the increasing vegetation areas account for 80.2% of Beijing. The restoration of vegetation is concentrated in the urban core area and mountainous area, while the degradation of vegetation is mainly concentrated in the suburbs. In recent years, the vegetation in most mountainous areas has changed from restoration to significant restoration, indicating that the growth of mountain vegetation has continued to restore. We also found that in the process of urban expansion, vegetation browning occurred in 53.1% of the urban built-up area, while vegetation greening occurred in the remaining area. We concluded that precipitation is the main climatic factor affecting the growth of vegetation in Beijing’s mountainous areas through correlation analysis. Human activities have significantly promoted the vegetation growth in the northern mountainous area thanks to the establishment of environmental protection areas. The negative correlation between vegetation and the impervious surface tends to gradually expand outwards, which is consistent with the trend of urban expansion. The positive correlation region remains stable, but the positive correlation is gradually enhanced. The response of vegetation to urbanization demonstrated a high degree of spatial heterogeneity. These findings indicated that human activities played an increasingly important role in influencing vegetation changes in Beijing. Full article
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20 pages, 8044 KiB  
Article
Modelling Vegetation Health and Its Relation to Climate Conditions Using Copernicus Data in the City of Constance
by Fithrothul Khikmah, Christoph Sebald, Martin Metzner and Volker Schwieger
Remote Sens. 2024, 16(4), 691; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs16040691 - 15 Feb 2024
Viewed by 743
Abstract
Monitoring vegetation health and its response to climate conditions is critical for assessing the impact of climate change on urban environments. While many studies simulate and map the health of vegetation, there seems to be a lack of high-resolution, low-scale data and easy-to-use [...] Read more.
Monitoring vegetation health and its response to climate conditions is critical for assessing the impact of climate change on urban environments. While many studies simulate and map the health of vegetation, there seems to be a lack of high-resolution, low-scale data and easy-to-use tools for managers in the municipal administration that they can make use of for decision-making. Data related to climate and vegetation indicators, such as those provided by the C3S Copernicus Data Store (CDS), are mostly available with a coarse resolution but readily available as freely available and open data. This study aims to develop a systematic approach and workflow to provide a simple tool for monitoring vegetation changes and health. We built a toolbox to streamline the geoprocessing workflow. The data derived from CDS included bioclimate indicators such as the annual moisture index and the minimum temperature of the coldest month (BIO06). The biophysical parameters used are leaf area index (LAI) and fraction of absorbed photosynthetically active radiation (FAPAR). We used a linear regression model to derive equations for downscaled biophysical parameters, applying vegetation indices derived from Sentinel-2, to identify the vegetation health status. We also downscaled the bioclimatic indicators using the digital elevation model (DEM) and Landsat surface temperature derived from Landsat 8 through Bayesian kriging regression. The downscaled indicators serve as a critical input for forest-based classification regression to model climate envelopes to address suitable climate conditions for vegetation growth. The results derived contribute to the overall development of a workflow and tool for and within the CoKLIMAx project to gain and deliver new insights that capture vegetation health by explicitly using data from the CDS with a focus on the City of Constance at Lake Constance in southern Germany. The results shall help gain new insights and improve urban resilient, climate-adaptive planning by providing an intuitive tool for monitoring vegetation health and its response to climate conditions. Full article
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23 pages, 5111 KiB  
Article
Time Lag and Cumulative Effects of Extreme Climate on Coastal Vegetation in China
by Tong Dong, Jing Liu, Panxing He, Mingjie Shi, Yuan Chi, Chao Liu, Yuting Hou, Feili Wei and Dahai Liu
Remote Sens. 2024, 16(3), 528; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs16030528 - 30 Jan 2024
Viewed by 579
Abstract
Rapid global changes are altering regional hydrothermal conditions, especially in ecologically vulnerable areas such as coastal regions, subsequently influencing the dynamics of vegetation growth. However, there is limited research investigating the response of vegetation in these regions to extreme climates and the associated [...] Read more.
Rapid global changes are altering regional hydrothermal conditions, especially in ecologically vulnerable areas such as coastal regions, subsequently influencing the dynamics of vegetation growth. However, there is limited research investigating the response of vegetation in these regions to extreme climates and the associated time lag-accumulation relationships. This study utilized a combined approach of gradual and abrupt analysis to examine the spatiotemporal patterns of vegetation dynamics in the coastal provinces of China from 2000 to 2019. Additionally, we evaluated the time lag-accumulation response of vegetation to extreme climate events. The results showed that (1) extreme high temperatures and extreme precipitation had increased over the past two decades, with greater warming observed in high latitudes and concentrated precipitation increases in water-rich southern regions; (2) both gradual and abrupt analyses indicate significant vegetation improvement in coastal provinces; (3) significant lag-accumulation relationships were observed between vegetation and extreme climate in the coastal regions of China, and the time-accumulation effects were stronger than the time lag effects. The accumulation time of extreme temperatures was typically less than one month, and the accumulation time of extreme precipitation was 2–3 months. These findings are important for predicting the growth trend of coastal vegetation, understanding environmental changes, and anticipating ecosystem evolution. Full article
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22 pages, 7180 KiB  
Article
Yield Estimation of Wheat Using Cropland Masks from European Common Agrarian Policy: Comparing the Performance of EVI2, NDVI, and MTCI in Spanish NUTS-2 Regions
by M. A. Garcia-Perez, V. Rodriguez-Galiano, E. Sanchez-Rodriguez and V. Egea-Cobrero
Remote Sens. 2023, 15(22), 5423; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs15225423 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 867
Abstract
Monitoring wheat yield and production is essential for ensuring global food security. Remote sensing can be used to achieve it due to its ability to provide global, comprehensive, synoptic, and repetitive information in near real-time. This study used the 2006–2016 Normalized Difference Vegetation [...] Read more.
Monitoring wheat yield and production is essential for ensuring global food security. Remote sensing can be used to achieve it due to its ability to provide global, comprehensive, synoptic, and repetitive information in near real-time. This study used the 2006–2016 Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NVDI) and Enhanced Vegetation Index 2 (EVI2) time series at a 250 m spatial resolution and 2006–2011 MERIS Terrestrial Chlorophyll Index (MTCI) time series at a 300 m spatial resolution. The post-maximum period for pixels containing wheat was selected based on the EU’s Common Agrarian Policy (CAP) and Corine Land Cover (CLC) data. It was correlated with yield and production values from governmental statistics (GS) of the largest Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics level 2 (NUTS-2) wheat producers in Spain and for Spain overall. The selection of wheat masks was crucial for the accuracy of the models, with CAP masks offering greater forecasting capability. Models using CLC produced R2 values between 0.45 and 0.7, while those using CAP outperformed the former with R2 values of 0.9 throughout Spain. Production models outperformed yield models, and MTCI was the vegetation index (VI) that provided the greatest R2 value of 0.94. However, model accuracy was heavily conditioned by the precision of input data, where anomalies were detected in some NUTS-2. Full article
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21 pages, 7251 KiB  
Article
Spring Phenology Outweighs Temperature for Controlling the Autumn Phenology in the Yellow River Basin
by Moxi Yuan, Xinxin Li, Sai Qu, Zuoshi Wen and Lin Zhao
Remote Sens. 2023, 15(20), 5058; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs15205058 - 21 Oct 2023
Viewed by 969
Abstract
Recent research has revealed that the dynamics of autumn phenology play a decisive role in the inter-annual changes in the carbon cycle. However, to date, the shifts in autumn phenology (EGS) and the elements that govern it have not garnered unanimous acknowledgment. This [...] Read more.
Recent research has revealed that the dynamics of autumn phenology play a decisive role in the inter-annual changes in the carbon cycle. However, to date, the shifts in autumn phenology (EGS) and the elements that govern it have not garnered unanimous acknowledgment. This paper focuses on the Yellow River Basin (YRB) ecosystem and systematically analyzes the dynamic characteristics of EGS and its multiple controls across the entire region and biomes from 1982 to 2015 based on the long-term GIMMS NDVI3g dataset. The results demonstrated that a trend toward a significant delay in EGS (p < 0.05) was detected and this delay was consistently observed across all biomes. By using the geographical detector model, the association between EGS and several main driving factors was quantified. The spring phenology (SGS) had the largest explanatory power among the interannual variations of EGS across the YRB, followed by preseason temperature. For different vegetation types, SGS and preseason precipitation were the dominant driving factors for the EGS in woody plants and grasslands, respectively, whereas the explanatory power for each driving factor on cultivated land was very weak. Furthermore, the EGS was controlled by drought at different timescales and the dominant timescales were concentrated in 1–3 accumulated months. Grasslands were more significantly influenced by drought than woody plants at the biome level. These findings validate the significance of SGS on the EGS in the YRB as well as highlight that both drought and SGS should be considered in autumn fall phenology models for improving the prediction accuracy under future climate change scenarios. Full article
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20 pages, 6948 KiB  
Article
Untangling the Causal Links between Satellite Vegetation Products and Environmental Drivers on a Global Scale by the Granger Causality Method
by Dávid D. Kovács, Eatidal Amin, Katja Berger, Pablo Reyes-Muñoz and Jochem Verrelst
Remote Sens. 2023, 15(20), 4956; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs15204956 - 13 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1078
Abstract
The Granger Causality (GC) statistical test explores the causal relationships between different time series variables. By employing the GC method, the underlying causal links between environmental drivers and global vegetation properties can be untangled, which opens possibilities to forecast the increasing strain on [...] Read more.
The Granger Causality (GC) statistical test explores the causal relationships between different time series variables. By employing the GC method, the underlying causal links between environmental drivers and global vegetation properties can be untangled, which opens possibilities to forecast the increasing strain on ecosystems by droughts, global warming, and climate change. This study aimed to quantify the spatial distribution of four distinct satellite vegetation products’ (VPs) sensitivities to four environmental land variables (ELVs) at the global scale given the GC method. The GC analysis assessed the spatially explicit response of the VPs: (i) the fraction of absorbed photosynthetically active radiation (FAPAR), (ii) the leaf area index (LAI), (iii) solar-induced fluorescence (SIF), and, finally, (iv) the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) to the ELVs. These ELVs can be categorized as water availability assessing root zone soil moisture (SM) and accumulated precipitation (P), as well as, energy availability considering the effect of air temperature (T) and solar shortwave (R) radiation. The results indicate SM and P are key drivers, particularly causing changes in the LAI. SM alone accounts for 43%, while P accounts for 41%, of the explicitly caused areas over arid biomes. SM further significantly influences the LAI at northern latitudes, covering 44% of cold and 50% of polar biome areas. These areas exhibit a predominant response to R, which is a possible trigger for snowmelt, showing more than 40% caused by both cold and polar biomes for all VPs. Finally, T’s causality is evenly distributed amongst all biomes with fractional covers between ∼10 and 20%. By using the GC method, the analysis presents a novel way to monitor the planet’s ecosystem, based on solely two years as input data, with four VPs acquired by the synergy of Sentinel-3 (S3) and 5P (S5P) satellite data streams. The findings indicated unique, biome-specific responses of vegetation to distinct environmental drivers. Full article
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24 pages, 6375 KiB  
Article
Impacts of Extreme-High-Temperature Events on Vegetation in North China
by Qingran Yang, Chao Jiang and Ting Ding
Remote Sens. 2023, 15(18), 4542; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs15184542 - 15 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 977
Abstract
Understanding the response of vegetation to temperature extremes is crucial for investigating vegetation growth and guiding ecosystem conservation. North China is a vital hub for China’s economy and food supplies, and its vegetation is highly vulnerable to complex heatwaves. In this study, based [...] Read more.
Understanding the response of vegetation to temperature extremes is crucial for investigating vegetation growth and guiding ecosystem conservation. North China is a vital hub for China’s economy and food supplies, and its vegetation is highly vulnerable to complex heatwaves. In this study, based on remote sensing data, i.e., the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), spatio-temporal variations in vegetation and extreme high temperatures are investigated by using the methods of trend analysis, linear detrending, Pearson correlation and ridge regression. The impacts of extreme-high-temperature events on different vegetation types in North China from 1982 to 2015 are explored on multiple time scales. The results indicate that the NDVI in North China exhibits an overall increasing trend on both annual and monthly scales, with the highest values for forest vegetation and the fastest growth trend for cropland. Meanwhile, extreme-high-temperature events in North China also display an increasing trend. Before detrending, the correlations between the NDVI and certain extreme-high-temperature indices are not significant, while significant negative correlations are observed after detrending. On an annual scale, the NDVI is negatively correlated with extreme temperature indices, except for the number of warm nights, whereas, on a monthly scale, these negative correlations are only found from June to September. Grassland vegetation shows relatively strong correlations with all extreme temperature indices, while forests show nonsignificant correlations with the indices. This study offers new insight into vegetation dynamic variations and their responses to climate in North China. Full article
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19 pages, 7687 KiB  
Article
Accelerated Restoration of Vegetation in Wuwei in the Arid Region of Northwestern China since 2000 Driven by the Interaction between Climate and Human Beings
by Xin Li and Liqin Yang
Remote Sens. 2023, 15(10), 2675; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs15102675 - 21 May 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1105
Abstract
The Wuwei area in the arid region of northwestern China is impacted by the harsh natural environment and human activities, and the problem of ecological degradation is severe there. In order to ensure the sustainable development of the regional social economy, it is [...] Read more.
The Wuwei area in the arid region of northwestern China is impacted by the harsh natural environment and human activities, and the problem of ecological degradation is severe there. In order to ensure the sustainable development of the regional social economy, it is necessary to monitor the changes in vegetation in Wuwei and its corresponding nonlinear relationships with climate change and human activities. In this study, the inter-annual and spatial–temporal evolution characteristics of vegetation in Wuwei from 1982 to 2015 have been analyzed based on non-parametric statistical methods. The analysis revealed that the areas of vegetation restoration and degradation accounted for 77 and 23% of the total area of the research area, respectively. From 1982 to 1999, vegetation degradation became extremely serious (14.4%) and was primarily concentrated in Gulang County and the high-altitude areas in the southwest. Since the ecological restoration project was implemented in 2000, there have been prominent results in vegetation restoration. The geographically and temporally weighted regression model shows that each climate factor has contributed to the vegetation restoration in the Wuwei area during the last 34 years, with their contributions ranked as precipitation (71.2%), PET (43.9%), solar radiation (34.8%), temperature (33.1%), and wind speed (31%). An analysis of the land-use data with 30 m resolution performed in this study revealed that the conversion area among land cover from 1985 to 2015 accounts for 14.9% of the total area. In it, the conversion area from non-ecological land to ecological land accounts for 5.7% of the total area. The farmland, grassland, and woodland areas have increased by 20.1, 20.6, and 8.5%, respectively, indicating that human activities such as agricultural intensification and ecological restoration projects have played a crucial role in vegetation restoration. Full article
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18 pages, 17123 KiB  
Technical Note
Satellite Evidence for Divergent Forest Responses within Close Vicinity to Climate Fluctuations in a Complex Terrain
by Jing Wang, Wei Fang, Peipei Xu, Hu Li, Donghua Chen, Zuo Wang, Yuanhong You and Christopher Rafaniello
Remote Sens. 2023, 15(11), 2749; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs15112749 - 25 May 2023
Viewed by 2558
Abstract
Climate change has a significant impact on forest ecosystems worldwide, but it is unclear whether forest responses to climate fluctuations are homogeneous across regions. In this study, we investigated the impact of climatic fluctuations on forest growth in a complex terrain, in Anhui [...] Read more.
Climate change has a significant impact on forest ecosystems worldwide, but it is unclear whether forest responses to climate fluctuations are homogeneous across regions. In this study, we investigated the impact of climatic fluctuations on forest growth in a complex terrain, in Anhui Province of China, using Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) data from the Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), while considering the impact of terrain characteristics and forest types. Our regional-scale analysis found that the forest response to climatic drivers in Anhui Province is not homogeneous, with only 69% of the forest area driven by temperature (TEM), while 11% is precipitation (PRE) driven and 20% is solar radiation (SWD) driven. We also found with random forest models that terrain traits (elevation and slope) contributed significantly (29.47% and 27.96%) to the spatial heterogeneity of forest response to climatic drivers, with higher elevation associated with a stronger positive correlation between the EVI and temperature (p < 0.001), a weaker positive correlation between the EVI with precipitation (p < 0.001), and a stronger negative correlation between the EVI with solar radiation (p < 0.01), while forest type contributed the least (4.21%). Our results also imply that in a warmer and dryer climate, some forest patches may switch from TEM driven to PRE driven, which could lead to a decrease in forest productivity, instead of an increase as predicted by existing climate models. These results highlight the heterogeneous response of forests within close vicinity to climate fluctuations in a complex terrain, which has important implications for climate-related risk assessments and local forest management. Full article
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