Evaluating nitrogen removal by vegetation uptake using satellite image time series in riparian catchments

Xuelei Wang, Qiao Wang, Shengtian Yang*, Donghai Zheng, Chuanqing Wu, C.M. Mannaerts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
38 Downloads (Pure)


Nitrogen (N) removal by vegetation uptake is one of the most important functions of riparian buffer zones in preventing non-point source pollution (NSP), and many studies about N uptake at the river reach scale have proven the effectiveness of plants in controlling nutrient pollution. However, at the watershed level, the riparian zones form dendritic networks and, as such, may be the predominant spatially structured feature in catchments and landscapes. Thus, assessing the functions of riparian system at the basin scale is important. In this study, a new method coupling remote sensing and ecological models was used to assess the N removal by riparian vegetation on a large spatial scale. The study site is located around the Guanting reservoir in Beijing, China, which was abandoned as the source water system for Beijing due to serious NSP in 1997. SPOT 5 data was used to map the land cover, and Landsat-5 TM time series images were used to retrieve land surface parameters. A modified forest nutrient cycling and biomass model (ForNBM) was used to simulate N removal, and the modified net primary productivity (NPP) module was driven by remote sensing image time series. Besides the remote sensing data, the necessary database included meteorological data, soil chemical and physical data and plant nutrient data. Pot and plot experiments were used to calibrate and validate the simulations. Our study has proven that, by coupling remote sensing data and parameters retrieval techniques to plant growth process models, catchment scale estimations of nitrogen uptake rates can be improved by spatial pixel-based modelling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2567-2576
Number of pages10
JournalScience of the total environment
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Nitrogen uptake
  • NPP
  • Plant growth
  • Remote sensing
  • Riparian catchment
  • 2023 OA procedure


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