Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2010, Vol. 34 ›› Issue (3): 316-329.DOI: 10.3773/j.issn.1005-264x.2010.03.009

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Phenological change of main vegetation types along a North-South Transect of Eastern China

YU Zhen1, SUN Peng-Sen1,*(), LIU Shi-Rong2   

  1. 1Institute of Forest Ecology, Environment and Protection, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091, China
    2Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091, China
  • Received:2009-07-14 Accepted:2009-09-12 Online:2010-07-14 Published:2010-03-01
  • Contact: SUN Peng-Sen


Aims Vegetation phenology is a sensitive indicator of ecological response to climate change that is usually used as an important component of dynamic vegetation models and reflects dynamic of carbon and water exchange between the land surface and the atmosphere.

Methods Based on the biweekly dataset of NOAA/AVHRR NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) for 1982-2006, the phenological curves of main vegetation types along the North-South Transect of Eastern China (NSTEC) were extracted using remote sensing software ENVI (ver4.3, RSI). A smooth-splin method was used to simulate and develop smooth phonological curves, which were used to determine timing of main phenological events by the first derivative method.

Important findings Earlier onsets of green-up were found in Temperate Coniferous Forest (TCF, 0.56 d·a-1), Temperate Grassland (TG, 0.66 d·a-1), Subtropical and Tropical Coniferous Forest (STCF, 0.46 d·a-1), Subtropical Deciduous Broadleaf Forest (SDBF, 0.58 d·a-1), Subtropical and Tropical Grassland (STG, 0.89 d·a-1). Delays of dormancy were found in Temperate and Cold Temperate Coniferous Forest (TCTCF, 0.32 d·a-1), Subtropical Deciduous Broadleaf Forest (SDBF, 0.80 d·a-1) and Temperate Deciduous Forest (TDF, 0.18 d·a-1). Prolonged growing season lengths (GSL) were also found in most vegetation types in the transect; however, these differed in their onsets dates of green-up or dormancy. Prolonged GSL in TCF (0.77 d·a-1) was caused by earlier onset of green-up, prolonged GSL in TCTCF (0.38 d·a-1) and TDBF (0.36 d·a-1) were caused by delays of dormancy and prolonged of GSL in TG (0.76 d·a-1), STCF (0.83 d·a-1), SDBF (1.4 d·a-1) and STG (1.3 d·a-1) were due to both advances of green-up and delays of dormancy. Correlations among precipitation, temperature and NDVI were analyzed to further explore the causes of phenological variation. The result showed that temperature has greater influence on variations of phonological events than precipitation. Heat gradient along NSTEC caused a phonological events gradient, i.e., a time sequence of cold temperate zone > temperate zone > subtropical zone in the onset dates of green-up and subtropical zone > temperate zone > cold temperate zone in the onset dates of dormancy and growing season lengths.

Key words: Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), North-South Transect of Eastern China (NSTEC), phenology, vegetation types