Summary Results from:

Seasonal and long-term variations in leaf area of Congolese rainforest
As they relate to the validation of MOD15

Authors: Sun, Y., Knyazikhin, Y., She, X., Ni, X., Chen, C., Ren, H., Myneni, R.

Source: Remote Sensing of Environment, 2022

Link to: Access Publication


It is important to understand temporal and spatial variations in the structure and photosynthetic capacity of tropical rainforests in a world of changing climate, increased disturbances and human appropriation. The equatorial rainforests of Central Africa are the second largest and least disturbed of the biodiversly-rich and highly productive rainforests on Earth. Currently, there is a dearth of knowledge about the phenological behavior and long-term changes that these forests are experiencing. Thus, this study reports on leaf area seasonality and its time trend over the past two decades as assessed from multiple remotely sensed datasets. Seasonal variations of leaf area in Congolese forests derived from MODIS data co-vary with the bimodal precipitation pattern in this region, with higher values during the wet season. Independent observational evidence derived from MISR and EPIC sensors in the form of angular reflectance signatures further corroborate this seasonal behavior of leaf area. The bimodal patterns vary latitudinally within this large region. Two sub-seasonal cycles, each consisting of a dry and wet season, could be discerned clearly. These exhibit different sensitivities to changes in precipitation. Contrary to a previous published report, no widespread decline in leaf area was detected across the entire extent of the Congolese rainforests over the past two decades with the latest MODIS Collection 6 dataset. Long-term precipitation decline did occur in some localized areas, but these had minimal impacts on leaf area, as inferred from MODIS and MISR multi-angle observations.