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Temporal Variability of MODIS Phenological Indices in the Temperate Rainforest of Northern Patagonia

Centro de Investigación en Recursos Naturales y Sustentabilidad (CIRENYS), Universidad Bernardo O’Higgins, Santiago 8370993, Chile
Department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
Departamento de Física, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad del Bío-Bío, Casilla 5-C, Concepción 4051381, Chile
Centro FONDAP de Investigación en Dinámica de Ecosistemas Marinos de Altas Latitudes (IDEAL), Valdivia 5110566, Chile
Programa de Magíster en Estadística, Facultad de Matemáticas, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago 8331150, Chile
IBENS, UMR 8197, Eco-Evolution Mathématique, École Normale Supérieure, 75230 Paris, France
UMMISCO, UMI 209 IRD-UPMC, 93142 Bondy, France
Centro de Estudios Avanzados en Zonas Áridas (CEAZA), Coquimbo 1781681, Chile
Departamento de Biología Marina, Facultad de Ciencias de Mar, Universidad Católica del Norte, Coquimbo 1781421, Chile
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(6), 956;
Received: 2 May 2018 / Revised: 28 May 2018 / Accepted: 12 June 2018 / Published: 15 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multitemporal Remote Sensing for Forestry)
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Western Patagonia harbors unique and sparsely studied terrestrial ecosystems that are threatened by land use changes and exposure to basin-scale climatic variability. We assessed the performance of two satellite vegetation indices derived from MODIS–Terra, EVI (Enhanced Vegetation Index) and NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index), over the northern and southern sectors of the Chiloé Island System (CIS) to advance our understanding of vegetation dynamics in the region. Then we examined their time-varying relationships with two climatic indices indicative of tropical and extratropical influence, the ENSO (El Niño–Southern Oscillation) and the Antarctic Oscillation (AAO) index, respectively. The 17-year time series showed that only EVI captured the seasonal pattern characteristic of temperate regions, with low (high) phenological activity during Autumn-Winter (Spring–Summer). NDVI saturated during the season of high productivity and failed to capture the seasonal cycle. Temporal patterns in productivity showed a weakened seasonal cycle during the past decade, particularly over the northern sector. We observed a non-stationary association between EVI and both climatic indices. Significant co-variation between EVI and the Niño–Southern Oscillation index in the annual band persisted from 2001 until 2008–2009; annual coherence with AAO prevailed from 2013 onwards and the 2009–2012 period was characterized by coherence between EVI and both climate indices over longer temporal scales. Our results suggest that the influence of large-scale climatic variability on local weather patterns drives phenological responses in the northern and southern regions of the CIS. The imprint of climatic variability on patterns of primary production across the CIS may be underpinned by spatial differences in the anthropogenic modification of this ecosystem, as the northern sector is strongly modified by forestry and agriculture. We highlight the need for field validation of satellite indices around areas of high biomass and high endemism, located in the southern sector of the island, in order to enhance the utility of satellite vegetation indices in the conservation and management of austral ecosystems. View Full-Text
Keywords: MODIS; primary productivity; climatic variability; vegetation index; wavelet coherence MODIS; primary productivity; climatic variability; vegetation index; wavelet coherence

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Lara, C.; Saldías, G.S.; Paredes, A.L.; Cazelles, B.; Broitman, B.R. Temporal Variability of MODIS Phenological Indices in the Temperate Rainforest of Northern Patagonia. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 956.

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