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Land 2013, 2(2), 108-130; doi:10.3390/land2020108

Using Remote Sensing to Quantify Vegetation Change and Ecological Resilience in a Semi-Arid System

The State Key Laboratory of Grassland Farming Systems, College of Pastoral Agriculture Science and Technology, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730020, China
Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, 1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway, Colorado Springs, CO 80918, USA
Department of Geography & Land Use and Environmental Change Institute (LUECI), University of Florida; 3141 Turlington Hall, P.O. Box 117315, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 February 2013 / Revised: 13 March 2013 / Accepted: 18 March 2013 / Published: 8 April 2013
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This research extends upon land cover change studies by incorporating methodological approaches, which are compatible with heterogeneous ecosystems, are able to link landscape changes to system processes, such as climate change, and provide potential linkages to concepts of ecological resilience. The study region in southern Africa experienced a significant climatic shift in the 1970s, resulting in drier conditions. The state of these ecosystems and their response to such climatic shock is quantified in terms of vegetation amount and heterogeneity. We monitor these characteristics pre- and post-disturbance using a Landsat image series and examine the utility of continuous characterizations of land cover for measuring ecosystem resilience. Land cover change is evaluated using a mean-variance analysis in concert with a spatial persistence analysis. This investigation indicates that although the impact of the decreased precipitation is evident in the 1980s, recovery occurred by the 1990s and 2000s. We found the continuous methodological approach used holds potential for studying heterogeneous landscapes within a resilience framework.
Keywords: savanna; vegetation cover; NDVI; climate change; resilience; land cover; Landsat savanna; vegetation cover; NDVI; climate change; resilience; land cover; Landsat
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Cui, X.; Gibbes, C.; Southworth, J.; Waylen, P. Using Remote Sensing to Quantify Vegetation Change and Ecological Resilience in a Semi-Arid System. Land 2013, 2, 108-130.

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