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Sensors 2007, 7(11), 2636-2651; doi:10.3390/s7112636

Sensitivity of the Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) to Topographic Effects: A Case Study in High-density Cypress Forest

Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Tsukuba, 1-1-1 Tennoudai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-8572, Japan
Key Laboratory of Environment Change and Natural Disaster, Ministry of Education of China, College of Resource Science and Technology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 August 2007 / Accepted: 30 October 2007 / Published: 5 November 2007
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Natural Resources and the Environment)
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Vegetation indices play an important role in monitoring variations in vegetation.The Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) proposed by the MODIS Land Discipline Groupand the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) are both global-based vegetationindices aimed at providing consistent spatial and temporal information regarding globalvegetation. However, many environmental factors such as atmospheric conditions and soilbackground may produce errors in these indices. The topographic effect is another veryimportant factor, especially when the indices are used in areas of rough terrain. In thispaper, we theoretically analyzed differences in the topographic effect on the EVI and theNDVI based on a non-Lambertian model and two airborne-based images acquired from amountainous area covered by high-density Japanese cypress plantation were used as a casestudy. The results indicate that the soil adjustment factor “L” in the EVI makes it moresensitive to topographic conditions than is the NDVI. Based on these results, we stronglyrecommend that the topographic effect should be removed in the reflectance data beforethe EVI was calculated—as well as from other vegetation indices that similarly include a term without a band ratio format (e.g., the PVI and SAVI)—when these indices are used in the area of rough terrain, where the topographic effect on the vegetation indices having only a band ratio format (e.g., the NDVI) can usually be ignored.
Keywords: band ratio; vegetation index; topographic effect; NDVI; EVI band ratio; vegetation index; topographic effect; NDVI; EVI
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Matsushita, B.; Yang, W.; Chen, J.; Onda, Y.; Qiu, G. Sensitivity of the Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) to Topographic Effects: A Case Study in High-density Cypress Forest. Sensors 2007, 7, 2636-2651.

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