Kovalskyy, V, Henebry, GM (2009). Change and persistence in land surface phenologies of the Don and Dnieper river basins. ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH LETTERS, 4(4), 45018.
The formal collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991 produced major socio-economic and institutional dislocations across the agricultural sector. The picture of broad scale patterns produced by these transformations continues to be discovered. We examine here the patterns of land surface phenology (LSP) within two key river basins-Don and Dnieper-using AVHRR (Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer) data from 1982 to 2000 and MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) data from 2001 to 2007. We report on the temporal persistence and change of LSPs as summarized by seasonal integration of NDVI (normalized difference vegetation index) time series using accumulated growing degree-days (GDDI NDVI). Three land cover super-classes-forest lands, agricultural lands, and shrub lands-constitute 96% of the land area within the basins. All three in both basins exhibit unidirectional increases in AVHRR GDDI NDVI between the Soviet and post-Soviet epochs. During the MODIS era (2001-2007), different socio-economic trajectories in Ukraine and Russia appear to have led to divergences in the LSPs of the agricultural lands in the two basins. Interannual variation in the shrub lands of the Don river basin has increased since 2000. This is due in part to the better signal-to-noise ratio of the MODIS sensor, but may also be due to a regional drought affecting the Don basin more than the Dnieper basin.