The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI): unforeseen successes in animal ecology



Pettorelli N, Ryan S, Mueller T, Bunnefeld N, Jedrzejewska B, Lima M & Kausrud K (2011) The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI): unforeseen successes in animal ecology. Climate Research, 46 (1), pp. 15-27.

This review highlights the latest developments associated with the use of the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) in ecology. Over the last decade, the NDVI has proven extremely useful in predicting herbivore and non-herbivore distribution, abundance and life history traits in space and time. Due to the continuous nature of NDVI since mid-1981, the relative importance of different temporal and spatial lags on population performance can be assessed, widening our understanding of population dynamics. Previously thought to be most useful in temperate environments, the utility of this satellite-derived index has been demonstrated even in sparsely vegetated areas. Climate models can be used to reconstruct historical patterns in vegetation dynamics in addition to anticipating the effects of future environmental change on biodiversity. NDVI has thus been established as a crucial tool for assessing past and future population and biodiversity consequences of change in climate, vegetation phenology and primary productivity.

Satellite; Primary productivity; Remote sensing; Environmental change; NDVI

Climate Research: Volume 46, Issue 1

Publication date31/12/2011

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Professor Nils Bunnefeld

Professor Nils Bunnefeld

Professor, Biological and Environmental Sciences