Wang, Q, Adiku, S, Tenhunen, J, Granier, A (2005). On the relationship of NDVI with leaf area index in a deciduous forest site. REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT, 94(2), 244-255.
Numerous studies have reported on the relationship between the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and leaf area index (LAI), but the seasonal and annual variability of this relationship has been less explored. This paper reports a study of the NDVI-LAI relationship through the years from 1996 to 2001 at a deciduous forest site. Six years of LAI patterns from the forest were estimated using a radiative transfer model with input of above and below canopy measurements of global radiation, while NDVI data sets were retrieved from composite NDVI time series of various remote sensing sources, namely NOAA Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR; 1996, 1997, 1998 and 2000), SPOT VEGETATION (1998-2001), and Terra MODIS (2001). Composite NDVI was first used to remove the residual noise based on an adjusted Fourier transform and to obtain the NDVI time-series for each day during each year. The results suggest that the NDVI-LAI relationship can vary both seasonally and inter-annually in tune with the variations in phenological development of the trees and in response to temporal variations of environmental conditions. Strong linear relationships are obtained during the leaf production and leaf senescence periods for all years, but the relationship is poor during periods of maximum LAI, apparently due to the saturation of NDVI at high values of LAI. The NDVI-LAI relationship was found to be poor (R 2 varied from 0.39 to 0.46 for different sources of NDVI) when all the data were pooled across the years, apparently due to different leaf area development patterns in the different years. The relationship is also affected by background NDVI but this could be minimized by applying relative NDVI. Comparisons between AVHRR and VEGETATION NDVI revealed that these two had good linear relationships (R-2=0.74 for 1998 and 0.63 for 2000). However, VEGETATION NDVI data series had some unreasonably high values during beginning and end of each year period, which must be discarded before adjusted Fourier transform processing. MODIS NDVI had values greater than 0.62 through the entire year in 2001, however, MODIS NDVI still showed an M-shaped pattern as observed for VEGETATION NDVI in 2001. MODIS enhanced vegetation index (EVI) was the only index that exhibited a poor linear relationship with LAI during the leaf senescence period in year 2001. The results suggest that a relationship established between the LAI and NDVI in a particular year may not be applicable in other years, so attention must be paid to the temporal scale when applying NDVI-LAI relationships. (C) 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.