It is not yet clear whether there is any difference in using remote sensing data of different spatial resolutions and filtering methods to improve the above-ground biomass (AGB) estimation accuracy of alpine meadow grassland. In this study, field measurements of AGB and spectral data at Sangke Town, Gansu Province, China, in three years (2013–2015) are combined to construct AGB estimation models of alpine meadow grassland based on these different remotely-sensed NDVI data: MODIS, HJ-1B CCD of China and Landsat 8 OLI (denoted as NDVIMOD
, respectively). This study aims to investigate the estimation errors of AGB from the three satellite sensors, to examine the influence of different filtering methods on MODIS NDVI for the estimation accuracy of AGB and to evaluate the feasibility of large-scale models applied to a small area. The results showed that: (1) filtering the MODIS NDVI using the Savitzky–Golay (SG), logistic and Gaussian approaches can reduce the AGB estimation error; in particular, the SG method performs the best, with the smallest errors at both the sample plot scale (250 m × 250 m) and the entire study area (33.9% and 34.9%, respectively); (2) the optimum estimation model of grassland AGB in the study area is the exponential model based on NDVIOLI
, with estimation errors of 29.1% and 30.7% at the sample plot and the study area scales, respectively; and (3) the estimation errors of grassland AGB models previously constructed at different spatial scales (the Tibetan Plateau, Gannan Prefecture and Xiahe County) are higher than those directly constructed based on the small area of this study by 11.9%–36.4% and 5.3%–29.6% at the sample plot and study area scales, respectively. This study presents an improved monitoring algorithm of alpine natural grassland AGB estimation and provides a clear direction for future improvement of the grassland AGB estimation and grassland productivity from remote sensing technology.
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