Ground-based {Network} of {NDVI} measurements for tracking temporal dynamics of canopy structure and vegetation phenology in different biomes

Plant phenology characterises the seasonal cyclicity of biological events such as budburst, flowering, fructification, leaf senescence and leaf fall. These biological events are genetically pre-determined but also strongly modulated by climatic conditions, particularly temperature, daylength and water availability. Therefore, the timing of these events is considered as a good indicator of climate change impacts and as a key parameter for understanding and modelling vegetation–climate interactions. In situ observations, empirical or bioclimatic models and remotely sensed time-series data constitute the three possible ways for monitoring the timing of plant phenological events. Remote sensing has the advantage of being the only way of surface sampling at high temporal frequency and, in the case of satellite-based remote sensing, over large regions. Nevertheless, exogenous factors, particularly atmospheric conditions, lead to some uncertainties on the seasonal course of surface reflectance and cause bias in the identification of vegetation phenological events. Since 2005, a network of forest and herbaceous sites has been equipped with laboratory made NDVI sensors to monitor the temporal dynamics of canopy structure and phenology at an intra-daily time step. In this study, we present recent results obtained in several contrasting biomes in France, French Guiana, Belgium and Congo. These sites represent a gradient of vegetation ecosystems: the main evergreen and deciduous forest ecosystems in temperate climate region, an evergreen tropical rain forest in French Guiana, an herbaceous savanna ecosystem in Congo, and a succession of three annual crops in Belgium. In this paper, (1) we provide an accurate description of the seasonal dynamics of vegetation cover in these different ecosystems (2) we identify the most relevant remotely sensed markers from NDVI time-series for determining the dates of the main phenological events that characterize these ecosystems and (3) we discuss the relationships between temporal canopy dynamics and climate factors. In addition to its importance for phenological studies, this ground-based Network of NDVI measurement provides data needed for the calibration and direct validation of satellite observations and products.


Ground-based {Network} of {NDVI} measurements for tracking temporal dynamics of canopy structure and vegetation phenology in different biomes
Publication Type
Journal Article
Year of Publication
Remote Sensing of Environment
Date Published
Submitted on 21 October 2021