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Chen, J, Gu, S, Shen, MG, Tang, YH, Matsushita, B (2009). Estimating aboveground biomass of grassland having a high canopy cover: an exploratory analysis of in situ hyperspectral data. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF REMOTE SENSING, 30(24), 6497-6517.

To improve the estimation of aboveground biomass of grassland having a high canopy cover based on remotely sensed data, we measured in situ hyperspectral reflectance and the aboveground green biomass of 42 quadrats in an alpine meadow ecosystem on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. We examined the relationship between aboveground green biomass and the spectral features of original reflectance, first-order derivative reflectance (FDR), and band-depth indices by partial least squares (PLS) regression, as well as the relationship between the aboveground biomass and narrow-band vegetation indices by linear and nonlinear regression analyses. The major findings are as follows. (1) The effective portions of spectra for estimating aboveground biomass of a high-cover meadow were within the red-edge and near infrared (NIR) regions. (2) The band-depth ratio (BDR) feature, using NIR region bands (760-950 nm) in combination with the red-edge bands, yields the best predictive accuracy (RMSE = 40.0 gm(-2)) for estimating biomass among all the spectral features used as independent variables in the partial least squares regression method. (3) The ratio vegetation index (RVI2) and the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI2) proposed by Mutanga and Skidmore (Mutanga, O. and Skidmore, A. K., 2004a, Narrow band vegetation indices solve the saturation problem in biomass estimation. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 25, pp. 1-6) are better correlated to the aboveground biomass than other VIs (R-2 = 0.27 for NDVI2 and 0.26 for RVI2), while RDVI, TVI and MTV1 predicted biomass with higher accuracy (RMSE - 37.2 g m(-2), 39.9 gm(-2) and 39.8 g m(-2), respectively). Although all of the models developed in this study are probably acceptable, the models developed in this study still have low accuracy, indicating the urgent need for further efforts.



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