Date of this Version
Remote Sensing of Environment 115 (2011) 836–840; doi:10.1016/j.rse.2010.11.011
Canopy foliar biomass, defined as the product of leaf dry matter content and leaf area index, is an important measurement for global biogeochemical cycles. This study explores the potential for retrieving foliar biomass in green canopies using a spectral index, the Normalized Dry Matter Index (NDMI). This narrow-band index is based on absorption at the C–H bond stretch overtone and is correlated with leaf dry matter content in fresh green leaves. PROSPECT and SAIL model simulations suggest that the NDMI at the canopy scale is able to minimize the effects of leaf thickness and leaf water content and to maximize sensitivity to variation in canopy foliar biomass. The simulation outputs were analyzed with an ANOVA, and 87% of the variation in the NDMI is explained by leaf dry matter content. The NDMI was linearly related to foliar biomass (g cm−2) from model simulations (R2=0.97). The NDMI calculated from spectral reflectances for one to four stacked leaves was also correlated with total leaf biomass (R2=0.59). These results suggest that it may be possible to determine foliar biomass from airborne and satellite-borne imaging spectrometers, such as NASA's HyspIRI mission.