An analysis of the patterns and processes associated with spring forest phenology in a southern Appalachian landscape using remote sensing
Prebyl, Thomas James
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In deciduous forests, the timing of spring leaf emergence is strongly influenced by seasonal temperature and will likely be altered if projections for a warming climate are correct. In this study, I documented how spring forest phenology varied across a 3000 ha landscape and analyzed the influence of seasonal temperatures. Using intensive ground observations, I demonstrate that remotely sensed imagery can be used to accurately predict the timing of spring leaf emergence. I found local temperature patterns in this mountainous study area are strongly influenced by topography, but can be predicted with landscape scale models. The timing of leaf emergence was influenced by spring warming and over-winter chilling; however, the amount of warming prior to leaf emergence varied among forest communities. Overall, I demonstrate an approach allowing the interaction of temperature and phenology to be analyzed and monitored at a spatial scale relevant to forest communities.