Pennec, A; Gond, V; Sabatier, D (2011). Tropical forest phenology in French Guiana from MODIS time series. REMOTE SENSING LETTERS, 2(4), 337-345.
Despite a growing need for knowledge on how terrestrial ecosystems function, phenological studies are rather rare. This study characterizes the temporal evolution of forest covers in French Guiana using variations in the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite signal and vegetation indices, such as the Shortwave Infrared Water Stress Index and the Enhanced Vegetation Index. The principle consists of reconstructing a temporal cycle mosaiced from a 9-year database. Rather than extract the phenological information from each pixel, dynamics were extracted from homogeneous groups of forest pixels enabling the identification of different phenological phases in forest ecosystems. A north-south gradient of chlorophyll activity emerged. The further we moved to the south, the more forest groups consist of fast-growing and drought-tolerant species, whereas a north-south shift appeared at the start dates of phenological cycles. This is a promising approach that paves the way for a much deeper understanding of the mechanisms governing the rainforest in French Guiana, as well as the responses of the Amazon forest to climate change and drought in the long term.