Analysis of NDVI and scaled difference vegetation index retrievals of vegetation fraction

Publisher:
Elsevier
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Remote Sensing Of Environment, 2006, 101 (3), pp. 366 - 369
Issue Date:
2006-01
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The normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) is the most widely used vegetation index for retrieval of vegetation canopy biophysical properties. Several studies have investigated the spatial scale dependencies of NDVI and the relationship between NDVI and fractional vegetation cover, but without any consensus on the two issues. The objectives of this paper are to analyze the spatial scale dependencies of NDVI and to analyze the relationship between NDVI and fractional vegetation cover at different resolutions based on linear spectral mixing models. Our results show strong spatial scale dependencies of NDVI over heterogeneous surfaces, indicating that NDVI values at different resolutions may not be comparable. The nonlinearity of NDVI over partially vegetated surfaces becomes prominent with darker soil backgrounds and with presence of shadow. Thus, the NDVI may not be suitable to infer vegetation fraction because of its nonlinearity and scale effects. We found that the scaled difference vegetation index (SDVI), a scale-invariant index based on linear spectral mixing of red and near-infrared reflectances, is a more suitable and robust approach for retrieval of vegetation fraction with remote sensing data, particularly over heterogeneous surfaces. The proposed method was validated with experimental field data, but further validation at the satellite level would be needed.
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