Beyond NDVI: Extraction of biophysical variables from remote sensing imagery

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic

10 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter provides an overview of methods used for the extraction of biophysical vegetation variables from remote sensing imagery. It starts with the description of the main spectral regions in the optical window of the electromagnetic spectrum based on typical spectral signatures of land surfaces. Subsequently, the merit and problems of using radiative transfer models to describe the relationship between spectral measurements and biophysical and chemical variables of vegetation are described. Next, the use of statistical methods by means of vegetation indices for the same purpose gets attention. An overview of different types of indices is given without having the ambition in being exhaustive. Subsequently, an overview is provided of the biogeophysical vegetation variables that can directly be estimated from optical remote sensing observations, with emphasis on using vegetation indices. These vegetation variables are: (1) chlorophyll and nitrogen, (2) vegetation cover fraction and fAPAR, (3) leaf area index, and (4) canopy water. Finally, an outlook for a major research direction in the near future in this context is provided.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLand Use and Land Cover Mapping in Europe: Practices and Trends
EditorsI. Manakos, M. Braun
Place of PublicationDordrecht
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Publication series

NameRemote Sensing and Digital Image Processing

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