Responses of Natural Vegetation to Different Stages of Extreme Drought during 2009–2010 in Southwestern China
An extreme drought event is usually a long-term process with different stages. Although it is well known that extreme droughts that have occurred frequently in recent years can substantially affect vegetation growth, few studies have revealed the characteristics of vegetation responses for different stages of an extreme drought event. Especially, studies should address when the vegetation growth was disturbed and how it recovered through an extreme drought event. In this study, we used the
... y, we used the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) to evaluate the response of vegetation to different stages of a severe drought event during 2009-2010 throughout Southwestern China. The PDSI time series indicated that the drought can be divided into three stages, including an initial stage represented by moderate drought (S1), a middle stage represented by continual severe drought (S2), and a final recovery stage (S3). The results revealed that the drought during the initial stage inhibited the growth of grassland and woody savanna, however, forest growth did not decrease during the first stage of droughts, and there was even a trend towards higher NDVI values. OPEN ACCESS Remote Sens. 2015, 7 14040 The continual severe drought in the middle stage inhibited growth for all vegetation types, and the woody savanna was affected most severely. In the final stage, all vegetation types underwent recovery, including the grassland that had endured the most severe drought. This study provides observational evidence and reveals that the responses of forest to the extreme drought are different from grassland and woody savanna in the different drought stages.