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Are vegetation indices useful in the Arctic?

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Meredith Williams


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This paper describes a preliminary investigation of the extent to which the normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI), derived from satellite optical imagery, can indicate the extent of damage to upland tundra (fruticose lichen and dwarf shrub) vegetation. We combine the results of a previously reported classification of Landsat multispectral scanner imagery from Kol'skiy Poluostrov, Russia, with field measurements of the biomass and spectral reflectance of tundra vegetation. The results show that the NDVI is not strongly influenced by biomass, but that differences in species composition and ground cover are significant. Other workers have concluded that vegetation indices are not useful for boreal forests. It is therefore suggested that the use of the NDVI by itself as an indicator of the state of disturbed vegetation in Arctic regions is not recommended.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Rees WG, Golubeva EI, Williams M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Polar Record

Year: 1998

Volume: 34

Issue: 191

Pages: 333-336

Print publication date: 01/06/1998

ISSN (print): 0032-2474

ISSN (electronic): 1475-3057

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S0032247400026036


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