Zhao, B, Yan, Y, Guo, HQ, He, MM, Gu, YJ, Li, B (2009). Monitoring rapid vegetation succession in estuarine wetland using time series MODIS-based indicators: An application in the Yangtze River Delta area. ECOLOGICAL INDICATORS, 9(2), 346-356.
Frequent and continuous time series is required for the detection of plant phenology and vegetation succession. The launch of novel remote sensor MODIS (moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer) provided us with an opportunity to make a new trial of studying the rapid vegetation succession in estuarine wetlands. In this study, the spatiotemporal variations of vegetation cover and tidal flat elevation along a transect (covering 6 pixels of MODIS) of an estuarine wetland at Dongtan, Chongming Island, in Yangtze River estuary, China were investigated to assess its rapid vegetation succession and physical conditions. By combining the field data collected, the time series of MODIS-based VIs (vegetation indices), including NDVI (normalized difference vegetation index), EVI (enhanced vegetation index) and MSAVI (modified soil adjusted vegetation index), and a water index, LSWI (land surface water index) were utilized to characterize the rapid vegetation succession between 2001 and 2006. We found that NDVI, EVI and MSAVI exhibited significant spatial and temporal correlations with vegetation succession, while LSWI behaved in a positive manner with surface water and soil moisture along with the successional stages. In order to take the advantages of both VIs and water index, a composite index of VWR (vegetation water ratio) combining LSWI and EVI or MSAVI was proposed in this paper. This index facilitates the identification of vegetation succession by simply comparing the values of VWR at different stages, and therefore it could track vegetation succession and estimate community spread rate. Additionally, this study presented an attempt of using MODIS datasets to monitor the change of tidal flat elevation, which demonstrated a potential remote sensing application in geodesy of coastal and estuarine areas. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.