National Aeronautics and Space Administration


Date of this Version



Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy & Radiative Transfer 112 (2011) 736–750; doi:10.1016/j.jqsrt.2010.06.004


Many studies have been conducted to demonstrate the ability of hyperspectral data to discriminate plant dominant species. Most of them have employed the use of empirically based techniques, which are site specific, requires some initial training based on characteristics of known leaf and/or canopy spectra and therefore may not be extendable to operational use or adapted to changing or unknown land cover. In this paper we propose a physically based approach for separation of dominant forest type using hyperspectral data. The radiative transfer theory of canopy spectral invariants underlies the approach, which facilitates parameterization of the canopy reflectance in terms of the leaf spectral scattering and two spectrally invariant and structurally varying variables—recollision and directional escape probabilities. The methodology is based on the idea of retrieving spectrally invariant parameters from hyperspectral data first, and then relating their values to structural characteristics of three-dimensional canopy structure.