Net primary productivity (NPP) is an important component of the terrestrial carbon cycle. In this study, NPP was estimated based on two models and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spaectroradiometer (MODIS) data. The spatiotemporal patterns of NPP and the correlations with climate factors and vegetation phenology were then analyzed. Our results showed that NPP derived from MODIS performed well in China. Spatially, NPP decreased from the southeast toward the northwest. Temporally, NPP showed a nonlinear increasing trend at a national scale, but the magnitude became slow after 2004. At a regional scale, NPP in Northern China and the Tibetan Plateau showed a nonlinear increasing trend, while the NPP decreased in most areas of Southern China. The decreases in NPP were more than offset by the increases. At the biome level, all vegetation types displayed an increasing trend, except for shrub and evergreen broad forests (EBF). Moreover, a turning point year occurred for all vegetation types, except for EBF. Generally, climatic factors and Length of Season were all positively correlated with the NPP, while the relationships were much more diverse at a regional level. The direct effect of solar radiation on the NPP was larger (0.31) than precipitation (0.25) and temperature (0.07). Our results indicated that China could mitigate climate warming at a regional and/or global scale to some extent during the time period of 2001–2014.
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