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Relationship between spatio-temporal characteristics of leaf-fall phenology and seasonal variations in near surface- and satellite-observed vegetation indices in a cool-temperate deciduous broad-leaved forest in Japan

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We examined the relationship between the spatio-temporal distribution of leaf litter for each species and the seasonal patterns of in situ and satellite-observed daily vegetation indices in a cool-temperate deciduous broad-leaved forest. The timing and distribution of leaf-fall revealed spatio-temporal relationships with species and topography. Values of the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), enhanced vegetation index (EVI), and green–red vegetation index (GRVI), measured both in situ and by satellite, and those of the in situ-measured leaf area index (LAI), rapidly declined at the peak of leaf-fall. At the late stage of leaf-fall, in situ-measured values of NDVI, EVI, and LAI declined but those of GRVI changed from decreasing to increasing. The peak timing of leaf-fall, when 50–73% of the leaf litter had fallen, corresponds to LAI = 1.80–0.81, NDVI = 0.61–0.54, EVI = 0.29–0.25, and GRVI = 0.01 ∼ ‐0.07. Although the distribution of leaf litter among species displayed spatial characteristics at the peak of leaf-fall, spatial heterogeneity of amount of leaf litter at the peak timing of leaf-fall was less than that at the beginning and end. These facts suggest that the criterion for determining the timing of leaf-fall from vegetation indices should be a value corresponding to the peak of leaf-fall rather than its end. In a high-biodiversity forest, such as this study forest, the effect of spatial heterogeneity on the timing and patterns of leaf-fall on vegetation indices can be reduced by observing only the seasonal variation in colour on the canopy surface by using GRVI, which consists of visible reflectance bands, rather than that of both leaf area and colour of the canopy surface by using NDVI and EVI, which consist of visible and near-infrared reflectance bands.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Environmental Geochemical Cycle Research, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), Kanazawa-ku, 236-0001, Japan 2: Graduate School of Advanced Science and Engineering, Waseda University, Tokyo, 162-8480, Japan 3: River Basin Research Centre, Gifu University, Gifu, 501-1193, Japan 4: Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, 305-8572, Japan

Publication date: May 19, 2014

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