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Schaffrath, D; Barthold, FK; Bernhofer, C (2011). Spatiotemporal variability of grassland vegetation cover in a catchment in Inner Mongolia, China, derived from MODIS data products. PLANT AND SOIL, 340(2-Jan), 181-198.

Conditions, distribution and development of vegetation in semi arid regions are highly variable. In this study we detected the temporal and spatial variability of vegetation in the Xilin river catchment from 2000 to 2008 by analysis of Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data products of that period. The study is based on LAI (Leaf area index) and supported by NDVI (Normalized difference vegetation index) and LST (Land surface temperature) data with a spatial resolution of 1 km. The mean LAI of the catchment from 2000 to 2008 is 0.59. Precipitation data of the study period governs the conditions and distribution of vegetation in the catchment. In dry years, e. g. 2001 and 2005, LAI was clearly lower (0.52) compared to 2003 (LAI=0.72) which was a wet year. As precipitation generally decreases from south-east to north-west, LAI values decrease according to this gradient. The influence of heavy grazing in the vicinity of the Xilin river is obvious as LAI is low (0.4) in these areas. The high temporal variability of the LAI is displayed by its high mean CV (coefficient of variation) which is 48% for the observed years. The analysis of sample areas illustrates temporal and spatial differences in vegetation development within the catchment and shows a generally delayed growth start in the north-west of the catchment.



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