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Response of Seasonal Vegetation Dynamics to Climatic Constraints in Northeastern Burundi

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Document pages: 31 pages

Abstract: The climate crises in East Africa (EA), particularly in Burundi, have affected vegetation which, in turn, plays a key role in the climate system by modifying the terrestrial water and energy balance. Consequently, it is vital to understand vegetation dynamics and its response to current and projected climate conditions to support the design of climate resilient land management strategies. The objective of this study was to study the dynamics of vegetation cover over the Northeastern Burundi (NEB) in response to climatic constraints. The methodology used consisted of the interpretation of satellite images along with the analysis of data collected through rain-gauge stations. The data sets used include time series composite moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) data collected between February 2000 and December 2017; long term (1986-2017) rainfall data acquired from two meteorological stations throughout the Northeastern provinces in Burundi and precipitation and mean temperature data (1986-2017) from Climate Hazards Group InfraRed Precipitation with Station data (CHIRPS) and ERA5 Daily aggregates for the study area. The study provides an assessment of the vegetation trends in NEB using the NDVI time series. In addition, regression analysis is applied to assess the relations between NDVI and precipitation, air temperature, potential evapotranspiration, as well as with growing season characteristics (onset, cessation, and length). Results show that the rate in vegetation productivity is persistently gradual between 2000 and 2011 despite fluctuations from the mean position, followed by a lower growth rate over the period 2011-2017. There has been trend variation in precipitation, neither the temperature was constant. The temperature over the region has increased while the precipitation has decreased. The onset of the growing season and air temperature also show a significant influence on seasonal vegetation dynamics in the region. Drought-induced plant stress observed at the onset of the rainy season was the most important contributor to the subsequent less greening of vegetation especially over the area near the northern lakes.

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