Ground and space spectral measurements for assessing the semi-arid ecosystem phenology related to CO 2 fluxes of biological soil crusts Academic Article uri icon


  • This paper reports on ranges of carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) activity in biological soil crusts (BSC) correlated with different ranges of the BSC's spectral reflectance throughout the phenological cycle of the year. Methodology is based on surface CO 2 exchange measurements, ground spectral measurements, and satellite images interpretation. Thirty-nine field campaigns, each of duration of 3 days, were conducted over the course of 2 years at a sand dunes and a loess environment of the northwestern Negev desert in Israel, in order to relate the CO 2 fluxes and the spectral signals to the seasonal phenology. The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) was derived from ground measurements of the BSC's reflectance and correlated with their CO 2 exchange data. A linear mixture model, incorporating the different contributions of the sites' ground features, was calculated and compared with SPOT-HRV data. From the ground measurements, fairly good correlations were found between the NDVI and the CO 2 fluxes on a seasonal scale. Hence, the NDVI successfully indicates the potential magnitude and capacity of the BSC's assimilation activity. The linear mixture model successfully describes the phenological cycles of the BSC, annual, and perennial plants and corresponds well to the satellite data. Moreover, the model enables annual changes of the phenology cycle and the growing season length to be distinguished. Both the linear mixture model and the derived NDVI values recorded the recovery of the BSC at the beginning of the wet season before annuals had germinated. Finally, it is concluded that a combination of CO 2 exchange measurements, linear mixture model, and NDVI values is suitable for monitoring BSC's productivity in arid regions.

publication date

  • January 1, 2006