Canadian Forest Service Publications

Derivation and validation of Canada-wide coarse-resolution leaf area index maps using high-resolution satellite imagery and ground measurements. 2002. Chen, J.M.; Pavlic, G.; Brown, L.; Cihlar, J.; Leblanc, S.G.; White, H.P.; Hall, R.J.; Peddle, D.R.; King, D.J.; Trofymow, J.A.; Van der Sanden, J.J.; Pellikka, P.K.E.; Swift, D.E. Remote Sensing of Environment 80: 165-184.

Year: 2002

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 19366

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1016/S0034-4257(01)00300-5

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Leaf area index (LAI) is one of the surface parameters that has importance in climate, weather, and ecological studies, and has been routinely estimated from remote sensing measurements. Canada-wide LAI maps are now being produced using cloud-free Advanced Very High-Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) imagery every 10 days at 1-km resolution. The archive of these products began in 1993. LAI maps at the same resolution are also being produced with images from the SPOT VEGETATION sensor. To improve the LAI algorithms and validate these products, a group of Canadian scientists acquired LAI measurements during the summer of 1998 in deciduous, conifer, and mixed forests, and in cropland. Common measurement standards using the commercial Tracing Radiation and Architecture of Canopies (TRAC) and LAI-2000 instruments were followed. Eight Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) scenes at 30-m resolution were used to locate ground sites and to facilitate spatial scaling to 1-km pixels. In this paper, examples of Canada-wide LAI maps are presented after an assessment of their accuracy using ground measurements and the eight Landsat scenes. Methodologies for scaling from high- to coarse-resolution images that consider surface heterogeneity in terms of mixed cover types are evaluated and discussed. Using Landsat LAI images as the standard, it is shown that the accuracy of LAI values of individual AVHRR and VEGETATION pixels was in the range of 50-75%. Random and bias errors were both considerable. Bias was mostly caused by uncertainties in atmospheric correction of the Landsat images, but surface heterogeneity in terms of mixed cover types were also found to cause bias in AVHRR and SPOT VEGETATION LAI calculations. Random errors come from many sources, but pixels with mixed cover types are the main cause of random errors. As radiative signals from different vegetation types were quite different at the same LAI, accurate information about subpixel mixture of the various cover types is identified as the key to improving the accuracy of LAI estimates. © 2002 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.