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Journal Article

Reliability of vegetation resilience estimates depends on biomass density


Smith,  Taylor
External Organizations;


Boers,  Niklas
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

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Smith, T., Boers, N. (2023): Reliability of vegetation resilience estimates depends on biomass density. - Nature Ecology & Evolution, 7, 1799-1808.

Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_28752
Concerns have been raised that the resilience of vegetated ecosystems may be negatively impacted by ongoing anthropogenic climate and land-use change at the global scale. Several recent studies present global vegetation resilience trends based on satellite data using diverse methodological set-ups. Here, upon a systematic comparison of data sets, spatial and temporal pre-processing, and resilience estimation methods, we propose a methodology that avoids different biases present in previous results. Nevertheless, we find that resilience estimation using optical satellite vegetation data is broadly problematic in dense tropical and high-latitude boreal forests, regardless of the vegetation index chosen. However, for wide parts of the mid-latitudes—especially with low biomass density—resilience can be reliably estimated using several optical vegetation indices. We infer a spatially consistent global pattern of resilience gain and loss across vegetation indices, with more regions facing declining resilience, especially in Africa, Australia and central Asia.