Our study demonstrates the utility of coarse spatial-resolution satellite spectra for analysis of vegetation phenophases and response to moisture availability in an arid ecosystem. We show the feasibility of deriving information on vegetation parameters such as stress and growth patterns in arid regions through the use of satellite-derived vegetation indices, despite the usual problems associated with a high ratio of soil to vegetation cover. Vegetation in our study area consists of Chihuahuan Desert grassland and scrub, including extensive zones of mixed desert scrub and grassland. Historic vegetation change has been well documented and is exemplified by decreasing grass cover and increasing shrub cover, a general trend of desertification. Our analysis suggests that satellite-based inputs can be used to improve our understanding of the spatial dynamics of climatic impacts on natural vegetation and to help us distinguish these processes from human-caused desertification.
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- Satellite Monitoring of Desert Plant Community Response to Moisture Availability
A. J. Peters
M. D. Eve
- Springer Netherlands
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