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Remote sensing of alpine treeline ecotone dynamics and phenology in Arunachal Pradesh Himalaya

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Global warming is inducing the elevational alpine treeline ecotone (ATE) to migrate to higher elevations in the Himalaya. Prior research on ATE dynamics has been primarily based on field inventory and studied at the community level. The potential of using remote sensing and geographic information system for the delineation of the treeline ecotone has been explored. In this study, we used satellite-derived Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) data from Landsat-1/2 Multispectral Scanner (MSS), Resourcesat-1/2 Linear Imaging Self Scanning Sensor (LISS-III), and National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration-Advanced Very High-Resolution Radiometer (NOAA-AVHRR) to investigate long-term ATE dynamics. Satellite remote sensing of treeline in Arunachal Pradesh Himalaya revealed an upward shift over the past four decades. The ATE has shifted c. 452 m ± 74 m upward in vertical dimension at a rate c. 113 m decade−1. Furthermore, the land surface phenology along ATE and forest area has changed significantly over the past 33 years. The significant positive trend in length of the growing season (LOS; p < 0.05) and delay in the end of the growing season (EOS) was observed. The start of the growing season (SOS) had a negative tendency with non-significant linear trend. The treeline upward shift and significant lengthening of the growing season at ATE and forest area indicate changing climatic patterns and processes.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Agriculture and Land Ecosystem Division (AED), Biological and Planetary Sciences and Applications Group (BPSG), Earth, Ocean, Atmosphere, Planetary Sciences and Applications Area (EPSA), Space Applications Centre (SAC), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Ahmedabad, India 2: Department of Forestry, North Eastern Regional Institute of Science and Technology, Nirjuli, India 3: Department of Botany, Bioinformatics, and Climate Change Impacts Management, University School of Sciences, Gujarat University, Ahmedabad, India

Publication date: October 18, 2019

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