PROSPECT and SAIL models: a review of use for vegetation characterization

S. Jacquemond, W. Verhoef, F. Baret, C. Bacour, P. Zarco-Tejada, G.P. Asner, C. Francois, S.L. Ustin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

833 Citations (Scopus)


The combined PROSPECT leaf optical properties model and SAIL canopy bidirectional reflectance model, also referred to as PROSAIL, has been used for about sixteen years to study plant canopy spectral and directional reflectance in the solar domain. PROSAIL has also been used to develop new methods for retrieval of vegetation biophysical properties. It links the spectral variation of canopy reflectance, which is mainly related to leaf biochemical contents, with its directional variation, which is primarily related to canopy architecture and soil/vegetation contrast. This link is key to simultaneous estimation of canopy biophysical/structural variables for applications in agriculture, plant physiology, or ecology, at different scales. PROSAIL has become one of the most popular radiative transfer tools due to its ease of use, general robustness, and consistent validation by lab/field/space experiments over the years. However, PROSPECT and SAIL are still evolving: they have undergone recent improvements both at the leaf and the plant levels. This paper provides an extensive review of the PROSAIL developments in the context of canopy biophysics and radiative transfer modeling
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S56-S66
JournalRemote Sensing of Environment
Issue numberSuppl 1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • radiative-transfer models
  • remote-sensing data
  • leaf optical-properties
  • canopy reflectance models
  • cyclopes global products
  • sugar-beet canopies
  • chlorophyll content
  • water-content
  • area index
  • bidirectional reflectance

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