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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 79 No. 1, p. 61-68
    Received: Oct 7, 1985

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Soil-Dependent Spectral Response in a Developing Plant Canopy1

  1. A. R. Huete2



A major problem in the use of remote sensing techniques to assess plant biomass and condition over incomplete canopies concerns the soil background contribution toward measured spectral response. An understanding of this soil signal is essential to better relate canopy spectra with plant properties. An interactive, plant-soil radiant flux model was developed to separate spectral variations associated with soil background from those attributable to vegetation. Field measured spectra taken over n developing cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) canopy with four soil types (Cumulic Cryoboroll, Typic Torrifluvent, Ustollic Haplargid, and Typic Calciorthid) alternately inserted underneath were decomposed into soil and vegetation spectra by utilizing the model in a principal component analysis. The soil component included all radiation penetrating the canopy and interacting with the underlying soil. The vegetation component represented all radiation reflected directly from the plant cover with no soil interaction. The soil component was found to resemble the spectral response of green vegetation due to the scattering and transmittance properties of the overlying plant canopy. Results show how the soil signal mixes into various vegetation indices inhibiting reliable vegetation discrimination. The potential improvements in vegetation analysis that can result from filtering soil background response from plant-canopy spectra are also discussed.

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