CALMIT: Center for Advanced Land Management Information Technologies


Date of this Version



Viña, A., and A. A. Gitelson (2005), New developments in the remote estimation of the fraction of absorbed photosynthetically active radiation in crops, Geophys. Res. Lett., 32, L17403, doi:10.1029/2005GL023647.


Copyright 2005 by the American Geophysical Union


The fraction of absorbed photosynthetically active radiation, fAPAR, is an important biophysical characteristic in models of gas exchange between the terrestrial boundary layer and the atmosphere, as well as in the analysis of vegetation productivity. Synoptic estimation of fAPAR has been performed by using NDVI as a linear proxy of fAPAR, despite the saturation of NDVI at fAPAR beyond 0.7. This paper analyzes the NDVI/fAPAR relationship in row crops (i.e. maize and soybean), and evaluates alternative vegetation indices to overcome the loss of sensitivity of NDVI at moderate-to-high vegetation biomass. Red-edge NDVI, which uses NIR and a band around 700 nm and the recently proposed Wide Dynamic Range Vegetation Index, which uses red and NIR bands only, were found to be sensitive to fAPAR variation along its entire range and exhibited significant increase in sensitivity to fAPAR.