Creating a regional MODIS satellite-driven net primary production dataset for european forests

Mathias Neumann*, Adam Moreno, Christopher Thurnher, Volker Mues, Sanna Härkönen, Matteo Mura, Olivier Bouriaud, Mait Lang, Giuseppe Cardellini, Alain Thivolle-Cazat, Karol Bronisz, Jan Merganic, Iciar Alberdi, Rasmus Astrup, Frits Mohren, Maosheng Zhao, Hubert Hasenauer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Net primary production (NPP) is an important ecological metric for studying forest ecosystems and their carbon sequestration, for assessing the potential supply of food or timber and quantifying the impacts of climate change on ecosystems. The global MODIS NPP dataset using the MOD17 algorithm provides valuable information for monitoring NPP at 1-km resolution. Since coarse-resolution global climate data are used, the global dataset may contain uncertainties for Europe. We used a 1-km daily gridded European climate data set with the MOD17 algorithm to create the regional NPP dataset MODIS EURO. For evaluation of this new dataset, we compare MODIS EURO with terrestrial driven NPP from analyzing and harmonizing forest inventory data (NFI) from 196,434 plots in 12 European countries as well as the global MODIS NPP dataset for the years 2000 to 2012. Comparing these three NPP datasets, we found that the global MODIS NPP dataset differs from NFI NPP by 26%, while MODIS EURO only differs by 7%. MODIS EURO also agrees with NFI NPP across scales (from continental, regional to country) and gradients (elevation, location, tree age, dominant species, etc.). The agreement is particularly good for elevation, dominant species or tree height. This suggests that using improved climate data allows the MOD17 algorithm to provide realistic NPP estimates for Europe. Local discrepancies between MODIS EURO and NFI NPP can be related to differences in stand density due to forest management and the national carbon estimation methods. With this study, we provide a consistent, temporally continuous and spatially explicit productivity dataset for the years 2000 to 2012 on a 1-km resolution, which can be used to assess climate change impacts on ecosystems or the potential biomass supply of the European forests for an increasing bio-based economy. MODIS EURO data are made freely available at

Original languageEnglish
Article number554
Number of pages18
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016


  • Bioeconomy
  • Biomass
  • Carbon
  • Climate
  • Downscaling
  • Forest inventory
  • Increment
  • MOD17
  • NFI
  • NPP


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