Beskydy 2016, 9, 21-30

Evaluation of drought and UV radiation impacts on above-ground biomass of mountain grassland by spectral reflectance and thermal imaging techniques

Kateřina Novotná, Karel Klem, Petr Holub, Barbora Rapantová, Otmar Urban

Global Change Research Institute CAS, Bělidla 4a, Brno CZ-603 00, Czech Republic

Drought represents one of the major factors limiting productivity of managed and natural ecosystems. Under natural field conditions drought is often associated with other stress factors such as high temperature and UV radiation, which may result in enhancement or vice versa alleviation of drought impact. Remote sensing methods have a large potential to evaluate impacts of drought on plant production at regional scale. The main objective of this study was to analyse the potential of ground-based measurement of spectral reflectance and thermal imaging for monitoring the impacts of drought and UV radiation on above-ground biomass production of mountain grassland ecosystem. Experimental rain-out shelters were used to manipulate incident precipitation and UV radiation for 7 weeks (May–July). A canopy spectral reflectance, thermal images, and total above-ground biomass were determined at the end of drought and UV treatment. Results show that drought led to a significant reduction of above-ground biomass, particularly under ambient UV radiation. In contrary, UV had only negligible effect on biomass production. Canopy temperature as well as selected spectral reflectance indices showed significant response to drought stress and also significant relationships to above-ground biomass. However, the relationship between canopy temperature and above-ground biomass is modified by UV radiation. Best prediction of changes in biomass caused by drought stress was provided by vegetation index NDVI.


This work was supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of CR within the National Sustainability Program I (NPU I), grant number LO1415.


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