Understanding intra-annual dynamics of ecosystem services using satellite image time series

T. Del Rio*, L. Willemen, A. Vrieling, A.D. Nelson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
49 Downloads (Pure)


Landscape processes fluctuate over time, influencing the intra-annual dynamics of ecosystem services. However, current ecosystem service assessments generally do not account for such changes. This study argues that information on the dynamics of ecosystem services is essential for understanding and monitoring the impact of land management. We studied two regulating ecosystem services (i. erosion prevention, ii. regulation of water flows) and two provisioning services (iii. provision of forage, iv. biomass for essential oil production) in thicket vegetation and agricultural fields in the Baviaanskloof, South Africa. Using models based on Sentinel-2 data, calibrated with field measurements, we estimated the monthly supply of ecosystem services and assessed their intra-annual variability within vegetation cover types. We illustrated how the dynamic supply of ecosystem services related to temporal variations in their demand. We also found large spatial variability of the ecosystem service supply within a single vegetation cover type. In contrast to thicket vegetation, agricultural land showed larger temporal and spatial variability in the ecosystem service supply due to the effect of more intensive management. Knowledge of intra-annual dynamics is essential to jointly assess the temporal variation of supply and demand throughout the year to evaluate if the provision of ecosystem services occurs when most needed
Original languageEnglish
Article number710
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalRemote sensing
Issue number4
Early online date21 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020




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