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Yellowstone National Park Report

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Traditional methods for measurement of vegetative characteristics can be time-consuming and labor-intensive, especially across large areas. Yet such estimates are necessary to investigate the effects of large scale disturbances on ecosystem components and processes. Because foliage of plants differentially absorbs and reflects energy within the electromagnetic spectrum, one alternative for monitoring vegetation is to use remotely sensed spectral data (Tueller 1989). Spectral indices developed from field radiometric and Landsat data have been used successfully to quantify green leaf area, biomass, and total yields in relatively homogeneous fields for agronomic uses (Shibayama and Akiyama 1989}, but have met with variable success in wildland situations (Pearson et al. 1976). Interference from soils (Hardinsky et al. 1984, Huete et al. 1985), weathered litter (Huete and Jackson 1987), and senesced vegetation (Sellers 1985) have diminished the relationship between green vegetation characteristics and various vegetation indices.