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Relating MODIS vegetation index time-series with structure, light absorption and stem production of fast-growing Eucalyptus plantations

Marsden C., Le Maire G., Stape J.L., Lo Seen D., Roupsard O., Cabral O., Epron D., Nascimento Lima A.M., Nouvellon Y.. 2010. Forest Ecology and Management, 259 (9) : p. 1741-1753.

DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2009.07.039

By allowing the estimation of forest structural and biophysical characteristics at different temporal and spatial scales, remote sensing may contribute to our understanding and monitoring of planted forests. Here, we studied 9-year time-series of the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on a network of 16 stands in fast-growing Eucalyptus plantations in São Paulo State, Brazil. We aimed to examine the relationships between NDVI time-series spanning entire rotations and stand structural characteristics (volume, dominant height, mean annual increment) in these simple forest ecosystems. Our second objective was to examine spatial and temporal variations of light use efficiency for wood production, by comparing time-series of Absorbed Photosynthetically Active Radiation (APAR) with inventory data. Relationships were calibrated between the NDVI and the fractions of intercepted diffuse and direct radiation, using hemispherical photographs taken on the studied stands at two seasons. APAR was calculated from the NDVI time-series using these relationships. Stem volume and dominant height were strongly correlated with summed NDVI values between planting date and inventory date. Stand productivity was correlated with mean NDVI values. APAR during the first 2 years of growth was variable between stands and was well correlated with stem wood production (r2 = 0.78). In contrast, APAR during the following years was less variable and not significantly correlated with stem biomass increments. Production of wood per unit of absorbed light varied with stand age and with site index. In our study, a better site index was accompanied both by increased APAR during the first 2 years of growth and by higher light use efficiency for stem wood production during the whole rotation. Implications for simple process-based modelling are discussed.

Mots-clés : eucalyptus grandis; télédétection; biomasse; eucalyptus urophylla; plantations; réflectance; efficacité; radiation solaire; absorption; production forestière; croissance; modélisation des cultures; Écologie forestière; index de végétation; sao paulo

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