Satellite passive microwaves reveal recent climate-induced carbon losses in African drylands

Brandt M., Wigneron J.-P., Chave J., Tagesson T., Penuelas J., Ciais P., Rasmussen K., Tian F., Mbow C., Al-Yaari A., Rodriguez-Fernandez N., Schurgers G., Zhang W., Chang J., Kerr Y., Verger A., Tucker C., Mialon A., Rasmussen L.V., Fan L., Fensholt R. (2018) Satellite passive microwaves reveal recent climate-induced carbon losses in African drylands. Nature Ecology and Evolution. : 1-9.
Link
Doi: 10.1038/s41559-018-0530-6

Abstract:

The African continent is facing one of the driest periods in the past three decades as well as continued deforestation. These disturbances threaten vegetation carbon (C) stocks and highlight the need for improved capabilities of monitoring large-scale aboveground carbon stock dynamics. Here we use a satellite dataset based on vegetation optical depth derived from low-frequency passive microwaves (L-VOD) to quantify annual aboveground biomass-carbon changes in sub-Saharan Africa between 2010 and 2016. L-VOD is shown not to saturate over densely vegetated areas. The overall net change in drylands (53% of the land area) was −0.05 petagrams of C per year (Pg C yr−1) associated with drying trends, and a net change of −0.02 Pg C yr−1 was observed in humid areas. These trends reflect a high inter-annual variability with a very dry year in 2015 (net change, −0.69 Pg C) with about half of the gross losses occurring in drylands. This study demonstrates, first, the applicability of L-VOD to monitor the dynamics of carbon loss and gain due to weather variations, and second, the importance of the highly dynamic and vulnerable carbon pool of dryland savannahs for the global carbon balance, despite the relatively low carbon stock per unit area. © 2018 The Author(s)

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Satellite-Observed Major Greening and Biomass Increase in South China Karst During Recent Decade

Brandt M., Yue Y., Wigneron J.P., Tong X., Tian F., Jepsen M.R., Xiao X., Verger A., Mialon A., Al-Yaari A., Wang K., Fensholt R. (2018) Satellite-Observed Major Greening and Biomass Increase in South China Karst During Recent Decade. Earth's Future. 6: 1017-1028.
Link
Doi: 10.1029/2018EF000890

Abstract:

Above-ground vegetation biomass is one of the major carbon sinks and provides both provisioning (e.g., forestry products) and regulating ecosystem services (by sequestering carbon). Continuing deforestation and climate change threaten this natural resource but can effectively be countered by national conservation policies. Here we present time series (1999–2017) derived from complementary satellite systems to describe a phenomenon of global significance: the greening of South China Karst. We find a major increase in growing season vegetation cover from 69% in 1999 to 81% in 2017 occurring over ~1.4 million km2. Over 1999–2012, we report one of the globally largest increases in biomass to occur in the South China Karst region (on average +4% over 0.9 million km2), which accounts for ~5% of the global areas characterized with increases in biomass. These increases in southern China's vegetation have occurred despite a decline in rainfall (−8%) and soil moisture (−5%) between 1999 and 2012 and are derived from effects of forestry and conservation activities at an unprecedented spatial scale in human history (~20,000 km2 yr−1 since 2002). These findings have major implications for the provisioning of ecosystem services not only for the Chinese karst ecosystem (e.g., carbon storage, water filtration, and timber production) but also for the study of global carbon cycles. ©2018. The Authors.

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Characterisation of functional-trait dynamics at high spatial resolution in a mediterranean forest from sentinel-2 and ground-truth data

Schauman S., Verger A., Filella I., Peñuelas J. (2018) Characterisation of functional-trait dynamics at high spatial resolution in a mediterranean forest from sentinel-2 and ground-truth data. Remote Sensing. 10: 0-0.
Link
Doi: 10.3390/rs10121874

Abstract:

The characterisation of functional-trait dynamics of vegetation from remotely sensed data complements the structural characterisation of ecosystems. In this study we characterised for the first time the spatial heterogeneity of the intra-annual dynamics of the fraction of absorbed photosynthetically active radiation (FAPAR) as a functional trait of the vegetation in Prades Mediterranean forest in Catalonia, Spain. FAPAR was derived from the Multispectral Instrument (MSI) on the Sentinel-2 satellite and validated by comparison with the ground measurements acquired in June 2017 at the annual peak of vegetation activity. The validation results showed that most of points were distributed along the 1:1 line, with no bias nor scattering: R2 = 0.93, p < 0.05; with a root mean square error of 0.03 FAPAR (4.3%). We classified the study area into nine vegetation groups with different dynamics of FAPAR using a methodology that is objective and repeatable over time. This functional classification based on the annual magnitude (FAPAR-M) and the seasonality (FAPAR-CV) from the data on one year (2016-2017) complements structural classifications. The internal heterogeneity of the FAPAR dynamics in each land-cover type is attributed to the environmental and to the specific species composition variability. A spatial autoregressive (SAR) model for the main type of land cover, evergreen holm oak forest (Quercus ilex), indicated that topographic aspect, slope, height, and the topographic aspect x slope interaction accounted for most of the spatial heterogeneity of the functional trait FAPAR-M, thus improving our understanding of the explanatory factors of the annual absorption of photosynthetically active radiation by the vegetation canopy for this ecosystem. © 2018 by the authors.

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