Estimation of vegetation LAI from hyperspectral reflectance data: Effects of soil type and plant architecture

R. Darvishzadeh, A.K. Skidmore, C. Atzberger, S.E. van Wieren

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101 Citations (Scopus)


The retrieval of canopy biophysical variables is known to be affected by confounding factors such as plant type and background reflectance. The effects of soil type and plant architecture on the retrieval of vegetation leaf area index (LAI) from hyperspectral data were assessed in this study. In situ measurements of LAI were related to reflectances in the red and near-infrared and also to five widely used spectral vegetation indices (VIs). The study confirmed that the spectral contrast between leaves and soil background determines the strength of the LAI¿reflectance relationship. It was shown that within a given vegetation species, the optimum spectral regions for LAI estimation were similar across the investigated VIs, indicating that the various VIs are basically summarizing the same spectral information for a given vegetation species. Cross-validated results revealed that, narrow-band PVI was less influenced by soil background effects (0.15 ¿ RMSEcv ¿ 0.56). The results suggest that, when using remote sensing VIs for LAI estimation, not only is the choice of VI of importance but also prior knowledge of plant architecture and soil background. Hence, some kind of landscape stratification is required before using hyperspectral imagery for large-scale mapping of vegetation biophysical variables.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-373
JournalInternational Journal of applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • leaf-area index
  • canopy chlorophyll density
  • radiative-transfer models
  • satellite data
  • broad-band
  • biophysical variables
  • spectral reflectance
  • thematic mapper
  • wheat canopies
  • winter-wheat

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