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Title: Assessing precipitation, evapotranspiration, and NDVI as controls of U.S. Great Plains plant production

Abstract

Productivity throughout the North American Great Plains grasslands is generally considered to be water limited, with the strength of this limitation increasing as precipitation decreases. We hypothesize that cumulative actual evapotranspiration water loss (AET) from April to July is the precipitation-related variable most correlated to aboveground net primary production (ANPP) in the U.S. Great Plains (GP). We tested this by evaluating the relationship of ANPP to AET, precipitation, and plant transpiration (Tr). We used multi-year ANPP data from five sites ranging from semiarid grasslands in Colorado and Wyoming to mesic grasslands in Nebraska and Kansas, mean annual NRCS ANPP, and satellite-derived normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) data. Results from the five sites showed that cumulative April-to-July AET, precipitation, and Tr were well correlated (R 2: 0.54–0.70) to annual changes in ANPP for all but the wettest site. AET and Tr were better correlated to annual changes in ANPP compared to precipitation for the drier sites, and precipitation in August and September had little impact on productivity in drier sites. April-to-July cumulative precipitation was best correlated (R 2 = 0.63) with interannual variability in ANPP in the most mesic site, while AET and Tr were poorly correlated with ANPP at thismore » site. Cumulative growing season (May-to-September) NDVI (iNDVI) was strongly correlated with annual ANPP at the five sites (R 2 = 0.90). Using iNDVI as a surrogate for ANPP, we found that county-level cumulative April–July AET was more strongly correlated to ANPP than precipitation for more than 80% of the GP counties, with precipitation tending to perform better in the eastern more mesic portion of the GP. Including the ratio of AET to potential evapotranspiration (PET) improved the correlation of AET to both iNDVI and mean county-level NRCS ANPP. Accounting for how different precipitation-related variables control ANPP (AET in drier portion, precipitation in wetter portion) provides opportunity to develop spatially explicit forecasting of ANPP across the GP for enhancing decision-making by land managers and use of grassland ANPP for biofuels.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [1];  [1];  [2];  [3];  [1];  [1];  [4];  [5];  [1];  [6];  [6];  [6];  [1]
  1. Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO (United States)
  2. Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO (United States); US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA), Fort Collins, CO (United States)
  3. Univ. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ (United States)
  4. US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA), Cheyenne, WY (United States)
  5. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Greenbelt, MD (United States)
  6. Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Center for advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation (CABBI)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23); USDA
OSTI Identifier:
1570081
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1570083; OSTI ID: 1571264
Grant/Contract Number:  
SC0018420; 2016-34263-25763
Resource Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Ecosphere
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 10; Journal Issue: 10; Journal ID: ISSN 2150-8925
Publisher:
Ecological Society of America
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; aboveground net primary production; cumulative actual evapotranspiration water loss; cumulative growing season normalized difference vegetation indes; North American Great Plains grasslands

Citation Formats

Chen, Maosi, Parton, William J., Hartman, Melannie D., Del Grosso, Stephen J., Smith, William K., Knapp, Alan K., Lutz, Susan, Derner, Justin D., Tucker, Compton J., Ojima, Dennis S., Volesky, Jerry D., Stephenson, Mitchell B., Schacht, Walter H., and Gao, Wei. Assessing precipitation, evapotranspiration, and NDVI as controls of U.S. Great Plains plant production. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.1002/ecs2.2889.
Chen, Maosi, Parton, William J., Hartman, Melannie D., Del Grosso, Stephen J., Smith, William K., Knapp, Alan K., Lutz, Susan, Derner, Justin D., Tucker, Compton J., Ojima, Dennis S., Volesky, Jerry D., Stephenson, Mitchell B., Schacht, Walter H., & Gao, Wei. Assessing precipitation, evapotranspiration, and NDVI as controls of U.S. Great Plains plant production. United States. doi:10.1002/ecs2.2889.
Chen, Maosi, Parton, William J., Hartman, Melannie D., Del Grosso, Stephen J., Smith, William K., Knapp, Alan K., Lutz, Susan, Derner, Justin D., Tucker, Compton J., Ojima, Dennis S., Volesky, Jerry D., Stephenson, Mitchell B., Schacht, Walter H., and Gao, Wei. Tue . "Assessing precipitation, evapotranspiration, and NDVI as controls of U.S. Great Plains plant production". United States. doi:10.1002/ecs2.2889.
@article{osti_1570081,
title = {Assessing precipitation, evapotranspiration, and NDVI as controls of U.S. Great Plains plant production},
author = {Chen, Maosi and Parton, William J. and Hartman, Melannie D. and Del Grosso, Stephen J. and Smith, William K. and Knapp, Alan K. and Lutz, Susan and Derner, Justin D. and Tucker, Compton J. and Ojima, Dennis S. and Volesky, Jerry D. and Stephenson, Mitchell B. and Schacht, Walter H. and Gao, Wei},
abstractNote = {Productivity throughout the North American Great Plains grasslands is generally considered to be water limited, with the strength of this limitation increasing as precipitation decreases. We hypothesize that cumulative actual evapotranspiration water loss (AET) from April to July is the precipitation-related variable most correlated to aboveground net primary production (ANPP) in the U.S. Great Plains (GP). We tested this by evaluating the relationship of ANPP to AET, precipitation, and plant transpiration (Tr). We used multi-year ANPP data from five sites ranging from semiarid grasslands in Colorado and Wyoming to mesic grasslands in Nebraska and Kansas, mean annual NRCS ANPP, and satellite-derived normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) data. Results from the five sites showed that cumulative April-to-July AET, precipitation, and Tr were well correlated (R2: 0.54–0.70) to annual changes in ANPP for all but the wettest site. AET and Tr were better correlated to annual changes in ANPP compared to precipitation for the drier sites, and precipitation in August and September had little impact on productivity in drier sites. April-to-July cumulative precipitation was best correlated (R2 = 0.63) with interannual variability in ANPP in the most mesic site, while AET and Tr were poorly correlated with ANPP at this site. Cumulative growing season (May-to-September) NDVI (iNDVI) was strongly correlated with annual ANPP at the five sites (R2 = 0.90). Using iNDVI as a surrogate for ANPP, we found that county-level cumulative April–July AET was more strongly correlated to ANPP than precipitation for more than 80% of the GP counties, with precipitation tending to perform better in the eastern more mesic portion of the GP. Including the ratio of AET to potential evapotranspiration (PET) improved the correlation of AET to both iNDVI and mean county-level NRCS ANPP. Accounting for how different precipitation-related variables control ANPP (AET in drier portion, precipitation in wetter portion) provides opportunity to develop spatially explicit forecasting of ANPP across the GP for enhancing decision-making by land managers and use of grassland ANPP for biofuels.},
doi = {10.1002/ecs2.2889},
journal = {Ecosphere},
number = 10,
volume = 10,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {10}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
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DOI: 10.1002/ecs2.2889

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