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Posts tagged Vegetation Index

Vegetation Shifts Around the Great Lakes – May 24th, 2013

46.9N 88.1W

May 24th, 2013 Category: Image of the day, Vegetation Index

USA – May 24th, 2013

Water-level change is integral to the structure and function of Great Lakes coastal wetlands, and many studies document predictable relationships between vegetation and water level. However, anthropogenic stressors, such as invasive species, land-use change, and water-level stabilization, interact to shift the historical cycle toward dominance by invasive species.

Scientists have determined that habitat dominated by Typha species has expanded to eliminate wet meadow habitat. In 2000, meadow area was below that predicted by the historical pattern due to the landward advance of marsh habitat during a year of decreasing water levels. In the same period, land use in the wetland watersheds converted from agriculture to urban. Studying vegetation shifts is an essential step in the process of preserving and restoring ecological integrity (click here for more information).

Climate Change and Deforestation in the Philippines – May 22nd, 2013

9.7N 122.3E

May 22nd, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Image of the day, Vegetation Index

Philippines – May 22nd, 2013

The Philippines is considered as one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. With impacts ranging from extreme weather events and periodic inundation to droughts and food scarcity, climate change has been a constant reality that many Filipinos have had to face.

Most affected are those living in coastal communities and the lower rung urban communities that lack awareness on proper disaster preparedness measures to take. As it is, climate change impacts have not only intensified from an imbalanced natural eco-system, but every onslaught has become unpredictable (click here for more information).

Another issue affecting the Philippines is deforestation. Over the course of the 20th century the forest cover of the Philippines dropped from 70% down to 20%. Only 3.2percent of total rainforest is left. Based on an analysis of land use pattern maps and a road map, an estimated 9.8 million ha of forests were lost in the Philippines from 1934 to 1988. Despite this problem, the islands show a mostly good vegetation index, as evidenced by the predominantly green coloring here.

Climate Change and Deforestation in Borneo – May 3rd, 2013

1.0N 114.2E

May 3rd, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Deforestation, Image of the day, Vegetation Index

Indonesia – May 3rd, 2013

This image focuses on the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia, showing its vegetation index. The rainforests of Southeast Asia support much of the region’s biodiversity. They play a crucial role in providing important ecosystem services such as soil stabilisation and carbon storage, and are an important source of income locally and nationally.

However, these lowland forests are under serious threat from direct and indirect human activities. Deforestation is occurring at a huge rate, due to logging for timber, conversion to huge agricultural plantations, and slash-and-burn farming methods. This has a serious impact on biodiversity and general functioning of the ecosystem and, as a result, affects the livelihoods of the many people who depend on the forests for income, shelter, water and food.

Perhaps the biggest and most long-term threat facing the rainforests, however, is posed by climate change, in particular increasingly severe and frequent droughts associated with El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events – the dry phase of a global cycle driving our climate. The wet La Niña phase of the ENSO cycle is also becoming more intense, leading to increasing frequency and size of large rainstorms. These wash away huge amounts of soil (and with it, valuable nutrients), which then ends up in the rivers causing sedimentation and flooding downstream.

The most important group of tree species in the rainforests of Borneo are the dipterocarps, which includes some of the largest forest species that grow in the tropics. In fact, Borneo hosts the greatest diversity and abundance of dipterocarps in the world – but they are suffering severely from the threats outlined above. The reduced recruitment of new seedlings and regeneration of older trees could have potentially disastrous implications. The future of the dipterocarps is at risk beyond the current generation unless restorative intervention is carried out (click here for more information).

Indonesia’s government has put plans for climate change management into effect, stressing the importance of conservation and utilization of the natural environment to support sustainable economic growth and the increased welfare of the people. Main programs include working on pollution and emission controls, reducing deforestation, peat lands management improvements and environmental rehabilitation. Indonesia and Australia are also working together to protect the forests of Kalimantan, the part of Borneo that belongs to Indonesia.

Vegetation Index of Western USA

43.8N 120.5W

April 24th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Vegetation Index

USA – April 24th, 2013

This image shows the vegetation index of western USA and southwestern Canada. Green indicates a high index, while yellow and orange indicate a low index. Some model simulations of future vegetation changes in states such as Oregon indicate that high elevation areas of subalpine forest and alpine tundra as well as areas of shrubland will contract under projected future climate changes.

These projected vegetation changes would reduce critical habitat for many species. As species distributions change, the current associations of plant species may also be affected. Some model simulations indicate that the species composition of forests may already be changing and that the rate of change will increase during the 21st-century (click here for more information).

Vegetation Index of Virginia and North Carolina, USA

36.4N 76.9W

April 4th, 2013 Category: Vegetation Index

USA – April 2nd, 2013

This image focuses on the states of Virginia and North Carolina, USA, showing the vegetation index in early Spring. The present-day climate of Virginia is generally classified as humid subtropical, but within-state variation of temperatures, precipitation, and length of growing season is dramatic. Much of the temperature gradient is related to elevation and distance from the coast, with oceanic influences greatly moderating the climate of near-coastal areas.

The relatively warm climate of eastern and southeastern Virginia is closely correlated with a concentration of southern plant species, some of which reach their northern range limits in the state. It is important to note that the contemporary vegetation of Virginia is not static and has developed only recently on the geological time scale. Ongoing global climate change and the contemporary loss of barriers to the worldwide migration of plants and other organisms will do doubt continue to generate shifts in vegetation distribution and composition across the state (click here for more information).