Phenology and climate relationships in aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.) forest and woodland communities of southwestern Colorado
Trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.) occurs over wide geographical, latitudinal, elevational, and environmental gradients, making it a favorable candidate for a study of phenology and climate relationships. Aspen forests and woodlands provide numerous ecosystem services, such as high primary productivity and biodiversity, retention and storage of environmental variables (precipitation, temperature, snow–water equivalent) that affect the spring and fall phenology of the aspen woodland communities of southwestern Colorado. We assessed the land surface phenology of aspen woodlands using two phenology indices, start of season time (SOST) and end of season time (EOST), from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) database of conterminous U.S. phenological indicators over an 11-year time period (2001–2011). These indicators were developed with 250 m resolution remotely sensed data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer processed to highlight vegetation response. We compiled data on SOST, EOST, elevation, precipitation, air temperature, and snow water equivalent (SWE) for selected sites having more than 80% cover by aspen woodland communities. In the 11-year time frame of our study, EOST had significant positive correlation with minimum fall temperature and significant negative correlation with fall precipitation. SOST had a significant positive correlation with spring SWE and spring maximum temperature.
Meier, G.A. et al. 2015. Phenology and climate relationships in aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.) forest and woodland communities of southwestern Colorado. Ecological Indicators 48:189-197