This paper outlines the strategies available for estimating the biophysical properties of crop canopies from remotely sensed data. Spectral reflectance and biophysical data were obtained over 132 plots of sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L.) and in the first part of the paper the strength of the relationships between vegetation indices (VI) and leaf area index (LAI) are examined. In the second part, an approach is tested in which a canopy reflectance model is used to generate simulated spectra for a wide range of biophysical conditions and these data are used to train an artificial neural network (ANN). The advantage of the second approach is that a priori knowledge of the measurement conditions including soil reflectance, canopy architecture and solar position can be included explicitly in the modelling. The results show that the estimation of sugar beet LAI using a trained neural network is more reliable than the use of VI and has the potential to replace the use of VI for operational applications. The use of a priori data on the variation in soil spectral reflectance gave rise to a small increase in LAI estimation accuracy.
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Document Type: Research Article
Telford Institute of Environmental Systems, School of Environment and Life Sciences University of Salford Manchester M5 4WT England UK
Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique Unité de Bioclimatologie Site Agroparc 84914 Avignon France
Publication date: December 1, 2003
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