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Remote Sens. 2016, 8(2), 129;

Understanding the Spatial Temporal Vegetation Dynamics in Rwanda

State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, China
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
University of Lay Adventists of Kigali (UNILAK), P.O 6392 Kigali, Rwanda
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Heiko Balzter, Clement Atzberger and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 20 November 2015 / Revised: 26 January 2016 / Accepted: 1 February 2016 / Published: 5 February 2016
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Knowledge of current vegetation dynamics and an ability to make accurate predictions of ecological changes are essential for minimizing food scarcity in developing countries. Vegetation trends are also closely related to sustainability issues, such as management of conservation areas and wildlife habitats. In this study, AVHRR and MODIS NDVI datasets have been used to assess the spatial temporal dynamics of vegetation greenness in Rwanda under the contrasting trends of precipitation, for the period starting from 1990 to 2014, and for the first growing season (season A). Based on regression analysis and the Hurst exponent index methods, we have investigated the spatial temporal characteristics and the interrelationships between vegetation greenness and precipitation in light of NDVI and gridded meteorological datasets. The findings revealed that the vegetation cover was characterized by an increasing trend of a maximum annual change rate of 0.043. The results also suggest that 81.3% of the country’s vegetation has improved throughout the study period, while 14.1% of the country’s vegetation degraded, from slight (7.5%) to substantial (6.6%) deterioration. Most pixels with severe degradation were found in Kigali city and the Eastern Province. The analysis of changes per vegetation type highlighted that five types of vegetation are seriously endangered: The “mosaic grassland/forest or shrubland” was severely degraded, followed by “sparse vegetation,” “grassland or woody vegetation regularly flooded on water logged soil,” “artificial surfaces” and “broadleaved forest regularly flooded.” The Hurst exponent results indicated that the vegetation trend was consistent, with a sustainable area percentage of 40.16%, unsustainable area of 1.67% and an unpredictable area of 58.17%. This study will provide government and local authorities with valuable information for improving efficiency in the recently targeted countrywide efforts of environmental protection and regeneration. View Full-Text
Keywords: AVHRR; Hurst exponent; MODIS; NDVI; rainfall; Rwanda; vegetation dynamics AVHRR; Hurst exponent; MODIS; NDVI; rainfall; Rwanda; vegetation dynamics

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Ndayisaba, F.; Guo, H.; Bao, A.; Guo, H.; Karamage, F.; Kayiranga, A. Understanding the Spatial Temporal Vegetation Dynamics in Rwanda. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 129.

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