Wide Dynamic Range Vegetation Index for Remote Quantification of Biophysical Characteristics of Vegetation

Anatoly A. Gitelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

555 Scopus citations


The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) is widely used for monitoring, analyzing, and mapping temporal and spatial distributions of physiological and biophysical characteristics of vegetation. It is well documented that the NDVI approaches saturation asymptotically under conditions of moderate-to-high aboveground biomass. While reflectance in the red region (ρred) exhibits a nearly flat response once the leaf area index (LAI) exceeds 2, the near infrared (NIR) reflectance (ρNIR) continue to respond significantly to changes in moderate-to-high vegetation density (LAI from 2 to 6) in crops. However, this higher sensitivity of the PNIR has little effect on NDVI values once the ρNIR exceeds 30 %. In this paper a simple modification of the NDVI was proposed. The Wide Dynamic Range Vegetation Index, WDRVI = (a*ρNIRred)/(a*ρNIRred), where the weighting coefficient a has a value of 0.1-0.2, increases correlation with vegetation fraction by linearizing the relationship for typical wheat, soybean, and maize canopies. The sensitivity of the WDRVI to moderate-to-high LAI (between 2 and 6) was at least three times greater than that of the NDVI. By enhancing the dynamic range while using the same bands as the NDVI, the WDRVI enables a more robust characterization of crop physiological and phenological characteristics. Although this index needs further evaluation, the linear relationship with vegetation fraction and much higher sensitivity to change in LAI will be especially valuable for precision agriculture and monitoring vegetation status under conditions of moderate-to-high density. It is anticipated that the new index will complement the NDVI and other vegetation indices that are based on the red and NIR spectral bands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-173
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Plant Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2004


  • Leaf area index
  • Reflectance
  • Remote estimation
  • Vegetation fraction
  • Vegetation index

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Wide Dynamic Range Vegetation Index for Remote Quantification of Biophysical Characteristics of Vegetation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this