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Open AccessArticle

Spectral Slope as an Indicator of Pasture Quality

Civil Engineering Faculty, Ariel University, Ariel 4070000, Israel
Department of Geography and Human Environment, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv 6997801, Israel
Department of Natural Resources, Agricultural Research Organization, Gilat Research Center, Mobile Post Negev 8528000, Israel
Department of Natural Resources and Agronomy, Institute of Field and Garden Crops, Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center, Bet Dagan 5025000, Israel
Soil Erosion Research Station, Ministry of Agriculture, Bet-Dagan 5025000, Israel
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Arnon Karnieli, Duccio Rocchini and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(1), 256-274;
Received: 15 August 2014 / Accepted: 15 December 2014 / Published: 25 December 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Land Degradation in Drylands)
In this study, we develop a spectral method for assessment of pasture quality based only on the spectral information obtained with a small number of wavelengths. First, differences in spectral behavior were identified across the near infrared–shortwave infrared spectral range that were indicative of changes in chemical properties. Then, slopes across different spectral ranges were calculated and correlated with the changes in crude protein (CP), neutral detergent fiber (NDF) and metabolic energy concentration (MEC). Finally, partial least squares (PLS) regression analysis was applied to identify the optimal spectral ranges for accurate assessment of CP, NDF and MEC. Six spectral domains and a set of slope criteria for real-time evaluation of pasture quality were suggested. The evaluation of three level categories (low, medium, high) for these three parameters showed a success rate of: 73%–96% for CP, 72%–87% for NDF and 60%–85% for MEC. Moreover, only one spectral range, 1748–1764 nm, was needed to provide a good estimation of CP, NDF and MEC. Importantly, five of the six selected spectral regions were not affected by water absorbance. With some modifications, this rationale can be applied to further analyses of pasture quality from airborne sensors. View Full-Text
Keywords: reflectance spectroscopy; spectral slope; pasture quality; protein; neutral detergent fiber (NDF); metabolic energy concentration (MEC) reflectance spectroscopy; spectral slope; pasture quality; protein; neutral detergent fiber (NDF); metabolic energy concentration (MEC)
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Lugassi, R.; Chudnovsky, A.; Zaady, E.; Dvash, L.; Goldshleger, N. Spectral Slope as an Indicator of Pasture Quality. Remote Sens. 2015, 7, 256-274.

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