The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), as a key indicator of vegetation growth, effectively provides information regarding vegetation growth status. Based on the Global Inventory Monitoring and Modeling System (GIMMS) NDVI time series data for Kazakhstan from 1982 to 2015, we analyzed the spatial pattern and changes in the vegetation growth trend. Results indicated that the three main types of vegetation in Kazakhstan are cropland, grassland and shrubland, and these are distributed from north to south. While the regional distribution pattern is obvious, the vegetation index decreased from north to south. The average NDVI values of the three main vegetation types are in the order of cropland > grassland > shrubland. During the period from 1982 to 2015, the NDVI initially increased (1982–1992), then decreased (1993–2007), and then increased again (2008–2015). The areas where NDVI decreased significantly accounted for 24.0% of the total land area. These areas with vegetation degradation are mainly distributed in the northwest junction between cropland and grassland, and in the cropland along the southern border. The proportions of total grassland, cropland and shrubland areas that were degraded are 23.5%, 48.4% and 13.7%, respectively. Areas with improved vegetation, accounting for 11.8% of the total land area, were mainly distributed in the mid-east cropland area, and the junction between cropland and grassland in the mid-east region.
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Vol. 8 • No. 4