Remotely sensed vegetation phenology and productivity along a climatic gradient: On the value of incorporating the dimension of woody plant cover

Jennifer E. Davison, David D Breshears, Willem van Leeuwen, Grant M. Casady

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aim Woody plants affect vegetation-environment interactions by modifying microclimate, soil moisture dynamics and carbon cycling. In examining broad-scale patterns in terrestrial vegetation dynamics, explicit consideration of variation in the amount of woody plant cover could provide additional explanatory power that might not be available when only considering landscape-scale climate patterns or specific vegetation assemblages. Here we evaluate the interactive influence of woody plant cover on remotely sensed vegetation dynamics across a climatic gradient along a sky island.Location The Santa Rita Mountains, Arizona, USA.Methods Using a satellite-measured normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) from 2000 to 2008, we conducted time-series and regression analyses to explain the variation in functional attributes of vegetation (productivity, seasonality and phenology) related to: (1) vegetation community, (2) elevation as a proxy for climate, and (3) woody plant cover, given the effects of the other environmental variables, as an additional ecological dimension that reflects potential vegetation-environment feedbacks at the local scale.Results NDVI metrics were well explained by interactions among elevation, vegetation community and woody plant cover. After accounting for elevation and vegetation community, woody plant cover explained up to 67% of variation in NDVI metrics and, notably, clarified elevation- and community-specific patterns of vegetation dynamics across the gradient.Main conclusions In addition to the environmental factors usually considered - climate, reflecting resources and constraints, and vegetation community, reflecting species composition and relative dominance - woody plant cover, a broad-scale proxy of many vegetation-environment interactions, represents an ecological dimension that provides additional process-related understanding of landscape-scale patterns of vegetation function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-113
Number of pages13
JournalGlobal Ecology and Biogeography
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2011

Fingerprint

woody plant
woody plants
phenology
productivity
vegetation
vegetation dynamics
NDVI
climate
microclimate
environmental factors
seasonality
environmental factor
soil moisture
time series
time series analysis
mountain
mountains
soil water
carbon

Keywords

  • Arizona
  • Climatic gradients
  • Phenology
  • Remote sensing
  • Sky islands
  • Woody plants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

@article{febff31615b3487aab43864cdfc881b5,
title = "Remotely sensed vegetation phenology and productivity along a climatic gradient: On the value of incorporating the dimension of woody plant cover",
abstract = "Aim Woody plants affect vegetation-environment interactions by modifying microclimate, soil moisture dynamics and carbon cycling. In examining broad-scale patterns in terrestrial vegetation dynamics, explicit consideration of variation in the amount of woody plant cover could provide additional explanatory power that might not be available when only considering landscape-scale climate patterns or specific vegetation assemblages. Here we evaluate the interactive influence of woody plant cover on remotely sensed vegetation dynamics across a climatic gradient along a sky island.Location The Santa Rita Mountains, Arizona, USA.Methods Using a satellite-measured normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) from 2000 to 2008, we conducted time-series and regression analyses to explain the variation in functional attributes of vegetation (productivity, seasonality and phenology) related to: (1) vegetation community, (2) elevation as a proxy for climate, and (3) woody plant cover, given the effects of the other environmental variables, as an additional ecological dimension that reflects potential vegetation-environment feedbacks at the local scale.Results NDVI metrics were well explained by interactions among elevation, vegetation community and woody plant cover. After accounting for elevation and vegetation community, woody plant cover explained up to 67{\%} of variation in NDVI metrics and, notably, clarified elevation- and community-specific patterns of vegetation dynamics across the gradient.Main conclusions In addition to the environmental factors usually considered - climate, reflecting resources and constraints, and vegetation community, reflecting species composition and relative dominance - woody plant cover, a broad-scale proxy of many vegetation-environment interactions, represents an ecological dimension that provides additional process-related understanding of landscape-scale patterns of vegetation function.",
keywords = "Arizona, Climatic gradients, Phenology, Remote sensing, Sky islands, Woody plants",
author = "Davison, {Jennifer E.} and Breshears, {David D} and {van Leeuwen}, Willem and Casady, {Grant M.}",
year = "2011",
month = "1",
doi = "10.1111/j.1466-8238.2010.00571.x",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "20",
pages = "101--113",
journal = "Global Ecology and Biogeography",
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T1 - Remotely sensed vegetation phenology and productivity along a climatic gradient

T2 - On the value of incorporating the dimension of woody plant cover

AU - Davison, Jennifer E.

AU - Breshears, David D

AU - van Leeuwen, Willem

AU - Casady, Grant M.

PY - 2011/1

Y1 - 2011/1

N2 - Aim Woody plants affect vegetation-environment interactions by modifying microclimate, soil moisture dynamics and carbon cycling. In examining broad-scale patterns in terrestrial vegetation dynamics, explicit consideration of variation in the amount of woody plant cover could provide additional explanatory power that might not be available when only considering landscape-scale climate patterns or specific vegetation assemblages. Here we evaluate the interactive influence of woody plant cover on remotely sensed vegetation dynamics across a climatic gradient along a sky island.Location The Santa Rita Mountains, Arizona, USA.Methods Using a satellite-measured normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) from 2000 to 2008, we conducted time-series and regression analyses to explain the variation in functional attributes of vegetation (productivity, seasonality and phenology) related to: (1) vegetation community, (2) elevation as a proxy for climate, and (3) woody plant cover, given the effects of the other environmental variables, as an additional ecological dimension that reflects potential vegetation-environment feedbacks at the local scale.Results NDVI metrics were well explained by interactions among elevation, vegetation community and woody plant cover. After accounting for elevation and vegetation community, woody plant cover explained up to 67% of variation in NDVI metrics and, notably, clarified elevation- and community-specific patterns of vegetation dynamics across the gradient.Main conclusions In addition to the environmental factors usually considered - climate, reflecting resources and constraints, and vegetation community, reflecting species composition and relative dominance - woody plant cover, a broad-scale proxy of many vegetation-environment interactions, represents an ecological dimension that provides additional process-related understanding of landscape-scale patterns of vegetation function.

AB - Aim Woody plants affect vegetation-environment interactions by modifying microclimate, soil moisture dynamics and carbon cycling. In examining broad-scale patterns in terrestrial vegetation dynamics, explicit consideration of variation in the amount of woody plant cover could provide additional explanatory power that might not be available when only considering landscape-scale climate patterns or specific vegetation assemblages. Here we evaluate the interactive influence of woody plant cover on remotely sensed vegetation dynamics across a climatic gradient along a sky island.Location The Santa Rita Mountains, Arizona, USA.Methods Using a satellite-measured normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) from 2000 to 2008, we conducted time-series and regression analyses to explain the variation in functional attributes of vegetation (productivity, seasonality and phenology) related to: (1) vegetation community, (2) elevation as a proxy for climate, and (3) woody plant cover, given the effects of the other environmental variables, as an additional ecological dimension that reflects potential vegetation-environment feedbacks at the local scale.Results NDVI metrics were well explained by interactions among elevation, vegetation community and woody plant cover. After accounting for elevation and vegetation community, woody plant cover explained up to 67% of variation in NDVI metrics and, notably, clarified elevation- and community-specific patterns of vegetation dynamics across the gradient.Main conclusions In addition to the environmental factors usually considered - climate, reflecting resources and constraints, and vegetation community, reflecting species composition and relative dominance - woody plant cover, a broad-scale proxy of many vegetation-environment interactions, represents an ecological dimension that provides additional process-related understanding of landscape-scale patterns of vegetation function.

KW - Arizona

KW - Climatic gradients

KW - Phenology

KW - Remote sensing

KW - Sky islands

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