npphen: An R-Package for Detecting and Mapping Extreme Vegetation Anomalies Based on Remotely Sensed Phenological Variability

Roberto O. Chávez, Sergio A. Estay, José A. Lastra, Carlos G. Riquelme, Matías Olea, Javiera Aguayo, Mathieu Decuyper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Monitoring vegetation disturbances using long remote sensing time series is crucial to support environmental management, biodiversity conservation, and adaptation strategies to climate change from global to local scales. However, it is difficult to assess whether a remotely detected vegetation disturbance is critical or not, since available operational remote sensing methods deliver only maps of the vegetation anomalies but not maps of how “uncommon” or “extreme” the detected anomalies are based on the available records of the reference period. In this technical note, we present a new release of the probabilistic method and its implementation, the npphen R package, designed to detect not only vegetation anomalies from remotely sensed vegetation indices, but also to quantify the position of the anomalous observations within the historical frequency distribution of the phenological annual records. This version of the R package includes two new key functions to detect and map extreme vegetation anomalies: ExtremeAnom and ExtremeAnoMap. The npphen package allows remote sensing users to detect vegetation changes for a wide range of ecosystems, taking advantage of the flexibility of kernel density estimations to account for any shape of annual phenology and its variability through time. It provides a uniform statistical framework to study all types of vegetation dynamics, contributing to global monitoring efforts such as the GEO-BON Essential Biodiversity Variables.

Original languageEnglish
Article number73
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • EBV
  • climate change
  • disturbance
  • remote sensing
  • time series


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