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Biotic controls over spectral reflectance of arctic tundra vegetation

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In this study, seasonal field measurements of the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), using a field spectroradiometer, and leaf area index (LAI), using a LI‐COR LAI‐2000 Plant Canopy Analyzer, were compared with above‐ground phytomass data to investigate relationships between vegetation properties and spectral indices for four distinct tundra vegetation types at Ivotuk, Alaska (68.49°N, 155.74°W). NDVI, LAI and above‐ground phytomass data were collected biweekly from four 100m×100m grids, each representative of a different vegetation type, during the 1999 growing season. Shrub phytomass, especially the live foliar deciduous shrub phytomass, was the major factor controlling NDVI across all vegetation types. LAI showed the strongest relationship with the overstorey component (total above‐ground excluding moss and lichen) of phytomass and also showed a significant relationship with NDVI. The results from this study illustrated that time of the growing season in which sampling is conducted, non‐linearity of relationships, and plant composition are important factors to consider when using relationships between NDVI, LAI and phytomass to parameterize or validate ecological models. The relationships established in this study also suggest that NDVI is useful for estimating levels of total live above‐ground phytomass and LAI in tundra vegetation.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska 99775‐7000, USA

Publication date: 2005-06-01

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