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Remote Sens. 2016, 8(10), 847; doi:10.3390/rs8100847

Using Ordinary Digital Cameras in Place of Near-Infrared Sensors to Derive Vegetation Indices for Phenology Studies of High Arctic Vegetation

1
Department of Arctic and Marine Biology, Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries and Economics, UiT: The Arctic University of Norway, NO-9037 Tromsø, Norway
2
Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, FRAM-High North Centre for Climate and the Environment, P.O. Box 6606 Langnes, NO-9296 Tromsø, Norway
3
Norut Northern Research Institute, P.O. Box 6434, NO-9294 Tromsø, Norway
4
Department of Environmental Geochemical Cycle Research, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Kanazawa-ku, 236-0001 Yokohama, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Randolph H. Wynne and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 21 April 2016 / Revised: 5 October 2016 / Accepted: 8 October 2016 / Published: 17 October 2016
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [3040 KB, uploaded 26 October 2016]   |  

Abstract

To remotely monitor vegetation at temporal and spatial resolutions unobtainable with satellite-based systems, near remote sensing systems must be employed. To this extent we used Normalized Difference Vegetation Index NDVI sensors and normal digital cameras to monitor the greenness of six different but common and widespread High Arctic plant species/groups (graminoid/Salix polaris; Cassiope tetragona; Luzula spp.; Dryas octopetala/S. polaris; C. tetragona/D. octopetala; graminoid/bryophyte) during an entire growing season in central Svalbard. Of the three greenness indices (2G_RBi, Channel G% and GRVI) derived from digital camera images, only GRVI showed significant correlations with NDVI in all vegetation types. The GRVI (Green-Red Vegetation Index) is calculated as (GDN − RDN)/(GDN + RDN) where GDN is Green digital number and RDN is Red digital number. Both NDVI and GRVI successfully recorded timings of the green-up and plant growth periods and senescence in all six plant species/groups. Some differences in phenology between plant species/groups occurred: the mid-season growing period reached a sharp peak in NDVI and GRVI values where graminoids were present, but a prolonged period of higher values occurred with the other plant species/groups. In particular, plots containing C. tetragona experienced increased NDVI and GRVI values towards the end of the season. NDVI measured with active and passive sensors were strongly correlated (r > 0.70) for the same plant species/groups. Although NDVI recorded by the active sensor was consistently lower than that of the passive sensor for the same plant species/groups, differences were small and likely due to the differing light sources used. Thus, it is evident that GRVI and NDVI measured with active and passive sensors captured similar vegetation attributes of High Arctic plants. Hence, inexpensive digital cameras can be used with passive and active NDVI devices to establish a near remote sensing network for monitoring changing vegetation dynamics in the High Arctic. View Full-Text
Keywords: NDVI; greenness index; RGB camera; vegetation; phenology; active sensor; passive sensor; Svalbard NDVI; greenness index; RGB camera; vegetation; phenology; active sensor; passive sensor; Svalbard
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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

Anderson, H.B.; Nilsen, L.; Tømmervik, H.; Karlsen, S.R.; Nagai, S.; Cooper, E.J. Using Ordinary Digital Cameras in Place of Near-Infrared Sensors to Derive Vegetation Indices for Phenology Studies of High Arctic Vegetation. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 847.

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