Zhang, YH; Ye, AZ (2020). Spatial and temporal variations in vegetation coverage observed using AVHRR GIMMS and Terra MODIS data in the mainland of China. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF REMOTE SENSING, 41(11), 4238-4268.

Human activities and climate change have changed the vegetation in China. The analysis of the changes in vegetation that have occurred over the past 30 years in China remains a great challenge due to intense human activity and lack of field observations. The use of various Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) datasets to study vegetation coverage changes has received much attention. In this paper, we selected the early versions of Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) Global Inventory Monitoring and Modelling Studies (GIMMS), GIMMS3g (third generation GIMMS NDVI from AVHRR sensors) and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) NDVI data including the fusion data (GIMMS+MODIS). We analysed spatial and temporal changes in vegetation cover in different ecosystems and basins in the mainland of China. Different contributions of ecosystems and variations in NDVI trends exist in different ecosystems in 17 basins. The results show that different NDVI from different data sources yield different results: (1) Vegetation increased in 74.62-77.7% of the area of the Chinese mainland during 1982-2015, mainly in the Yellow River and the middle reaches of the Yangtze River basin; (2) 2000-2017 MODIS NDVI in mainland China has increased more area (79.67%). (3) Farmland and Forest ecosystems were significantly enhanced in the eastern monsoon region; (4) High-resolution NDVI can provide more information than domain average NDVI. GIMMS and MODIS NDVI data have complementary spatial and temporal distributions. Our study improves the understanding of vegetation dynamics over long time periods and large areas and, moreover, has potential for supporting ecological managers in mainland China.