To preserve urban vegetation land cover quality and mitigate its degradation is an important task for urban planning and
environmental management of Bucharest metropolitan area in Romania. Since vegetation land cover dynamics directly
affect the urban landscape characteristics and air quality, remote sensing represents an effective tool for vegetation land
cover quality assessment at regional scale. In particular, the use of satellite-based vegetation indices, like the NDVI
(Normalized Difference Vegetation Index), can provide important information when evaluating Urban Vegetation Cover
Quality (UVCQ) patterns in urban areas, which represents one of the most sensitive landscape components to urban
environmental degradation. This paper proposes an approach for the regional-scale assessment of UVCQ by means of an
NDVI-based (functional) indicator using freely available time series MODIS Terra/Aqua (Moderate Resolution Imaging
Spectroradiometer) satellite data. As a case study, Bucharest metropolitan area landscape experiencing climate and
anthropogenic changes, increasing human pressure and high vulnerability to degradation was chosen. As UVCQ
indicator, the NDVI-based vegetation cover classification was produced by means of unsupervised multivariate statistical
techniques and compared with spatio-temporal changes during 2002-2012 period, statistical indicators, and field data
related to land cover management observed in the study area. Results demonstrate that the obtained remotely sensed
vegetation land cover characterization can be effectively considered as a proxy of the UVCQ status of the examined area.
Due to the large availability over time and low cost of satellite images, the proposed approach can be applied to wider
urban/periurban regions, to monitor vegetation quality and indirectly control vegetation land degradation.