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Monitoring Leaf Area Index of Mediterranean oak woodlands: comparison of remotely-sensed estimates with simulations from an ecological process-based model

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Annual vegetation abundance mapping was carried out within the DeMon II European project over a period of 12 years (1984-1996). The project relied on advanced satellite-based methods for spatial and temporal monitoring of Mediterranean oak woodlands by means of a series of Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) satellite data. A standardized approach developed previously focuses on the Languedoc site, Hautes Garrigues, a typical sensitive Mediterranean region, but now recovering after centuries of grazing and agricultural activities. After geometric and radiometric rectification of nine full Landsat TM scenes with a refined correction in a smaller area of 75 km × 75 km, a GIS database was created containing satellite data, thematic maps of vegetation, geological maps, climatic data and field measurements. An empirical relation between radiometric ground truth measurements and satellite derived Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) allows us to derive Leaf Area Index (LAI). An ecological process-based model (Forest BGC) has been adapted to simulate ecosystem processes in a satisfying way at a local scale. Consistent results were obtained from remote sensing data and from simulations at a local scale, suggesting the possible use of remote-sensing data to monitor vegetation abundance changes at a regional scale. Without considering human disturbances, it can be noted that not much variation of LAI induced by natural factors can be detected over the considered 12-year period.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive (CEFE), Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 1919 Route de Mende, 34293 Montpellier Cedex 5, France

Publication date: 2003-09-01

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