Assessment of Vegetation Stress Using Reflectance or Fluorescence Measurements





Citation of Original Publication

Campbell, P.K.E., Middleton, E.M., McMurtrey, J.E., Corp, L.A. and Chappelle, E.W. (2007), Assessment of Vegetation Stress Using Reflectance or Fluorescence Measurements. J. Environ. Qual., 36: 832-845.


This work was written as part of one of the author's official duties as an Employee of the United States Government and is therefore a work of the United States Government. In accordance with 17 U.S.C. 105, no copyright protection is available for such works under U.S. Law.
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Current methods for large-scale vegetation monitoring rely on multispectral remote sensing, which has serious limitation for the detection of vegetation stress. To contribute to the establishment of a generalized spectral approach for vegetation stress detection, this study compares the ability of high-spectral-resolution reflectance (R) and fluorescence (F) foliar measurements to detect vegetation changes associated with common environmental factors affecting plant growth and productivity. To obtain a spectral dataset from a broad range of species and stress conditions, plant material from three experiments was examined, including (i) corn, nitrogen (N) deficiency/excess; (ii) soybean, elevated carbon dioxide, and ozone levels; and (iii) red maple, augmented ultraviolet irradiation. Fluorescence and R spectra (400–800 nm) were measured on the same foliar samples in conjunction with photosynthetic pigments, carbon, and N content. For separation of a wide range of treatment levels, hyperspectral (5–10 nm) R indices were superior compared with F or broadband R indices, with the derivative parameters providing optimal results. For the detection of changes in vegetation physiology, hyperspectral indices can provide a significant improvement over broadband indices. The relationship of treatment levels to R was linear, whereas that to F was curvilinear. Using reflectance measurements, it was not possible to identify the unstressed vegetation condition, which was accomplished in all three experiments using F indices. Large-scale monitoring of vegetation condition and the detection of vegetation stress could be improved by using hyperspectral R and F information, a possible strategy for future remote sensing missions.