MODIS normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and vegetation phenology dynamics in the Inner Mongolia grassland
Abstract. The Inner Mongolia grassland, one of the most important grazing regions in China, has long been threatened by land degradation and desertification, mainly due to overgrazing. To understand vegetation responses over the last decade, this study evaluated trends in vegetation cover and phenology dynamics in the Inner Mongolia grassland by applying a normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) time series obtained by the Terra Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) during 2002–2014. The results showed that the cumulative annual NDVI increased to over 77.10 % in the permanent grassland region (2002–2014). The mean value of the total change showed that the start of season (SOS) date and the peak vegetation productivity date of the season (POS) had advanced by 5.79 and 2.43 days, respectively. The end of season (EOS) was delayed by 5.07 days. These changes lengthened the season by 10.86 days. Our results also confirmed that grassland changes are closely related to spring precipitation and increasing temperature at the early growing period because of global warming. Overall, productivity in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region tends to increase, but in some grassland areas with grazing, land degradation is ongoing.