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Remote Sens. 2015, 7(11), 14939-14966; doi:10.3390/rs71114939

Evaluation of Six Algorithms to Monitor Wheat Leaf Nitrogen Concentration

National Engineering and Technology Center for Information Agriculture, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, China
Jiangsu Key Laboratory for Information Agriculture, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, China
Jiangsu Collaborative Innovation Center for Modern Crop Production, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Yoshio Inoue, Pablo J. Zarco-Tejada and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 30 April 2015 / Revised: 14 October 2015 / Accepted: 27 October 2015 / Published: 10 November 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Remote Sensing for Crop Growth Monitoring)
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The rapid and non-destructive monitoring of the canopy leaf nitrogen concentration (LNC) in crops is important for precise nitrogen (N) management. Nowadays, there is an urgent need to identify next-generation bio-physical variable retrieval algorithms that can be incorporated into an operational processing chain for hyperspectral satellite missions. We assessed six retrieval algorithms for estimating LNC from canopy reflectance of winter wheat in eight field experiments. These experiments represented variations in the N application rates, planting densities, ecological sites and cultivars and yielded a total of 821 samples from various places in Jiangsu, China over nine consecutive years. Based on the reflectance spectra and their first derivatives, six methods using different numbers of wavelengths were applied to construct predictive models for estimating wheat LNC, including continuum removal (CR), vegetation indices (VIs), stepwise multiple linear regression (SMLR), partial least squares regression (PLSR), artificial neural networks (ANNs), and support vector machines (SVMs). To assess the performance of these six methods, we provided a systematic evaluation of the estimation accuracies using the six metrics that were the coefficients of determination for the calibration (R2C) and validation (R2V) sets, the root mean square errors of prediction (RMSEP) for the calibration and validation sets, the ratio of prediction to deviation (RPD), the computational efficiency (CE) and the complexity level (CL). The following results were obtained: (1) For the VIs method, SAVI(R1200, R705) produced a more accurate estimation of the LNC than other indices, with R²C, R²V, RMSEP, RPD and CE values of 0.844, 0.795, 0.384, 2.005 and 0.10 min, respectively; (2) For the SMLR, PLSR, ANNs and SVMs methods, the SVMs using the first derivative canopy spectra (SVM-FDS) offered the best accuracy in terms of R²C, R²V, RMSEP, RPD, and CE, at 0.96, 0.78, 0.37, 2.02, and 21.17, respectively; (3) The PLSR-FDS, ANN-OS and SVM-FDS methods yield similar accuracies if the CE and CL are not considered, however, ANNs and SVMs performed better on calibration set than the validation set which indicate that we should take more caution with the two methods for over-fitting. Except PLS method, the performance for most methods did not enhance when the spectrum were operated by the first derivative. Moreover, the evaluation of the robustness demonstrates that SVM method may be better suited than the other methods to cope with potential confounding factors for most varieties, ecological site and growth stage; (4) The prediction accuracy was found to be higher when more wavelengths were used, though at the cost of a lower CE. The findings are of interest to the remote sensing community for the development of improved inversion schemes for hyperspectral applications concerning other types of vegetation. The examples provided in this paper may also serve to illustrate the advantages and shortcomings of empirical hyperspectral models for mapping important vegetation biophysical properties of other crops. View Full-Text
Keywords: six algorithms; comparative analysis; number of wavelengths; leaf nitrogen concentration; monitoring accuracy; winter wheat six algorithms; comparative analysis; number of wavelengths; leaf nitrogen concentration; monitoring accuracy; winter wheat

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Yao, X.; Huang, Y.; Shang, G.; Zhou, C.; Cheng, T.; Tian, Y.; Cao, W.; Zhu, Y. Evaluation of Six Algorithms to Monitor Wheat Leaf Nitrogen Concentration. Remote Sens. 2015, 7, 14939-14966.

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