skip to main content


Title: Seasonal variations of leaf and canopy properties tracked by ground-based NDVI imagery in a temperate forest

Changes in plant phenology affect the carbon flux of terrestrial forest ecosystems due to the link between the growing season length and vegetation productivity. Digital camera imagery, which can be acquired frequently, has been used to monitor seasonal and annual changes in forest canopy phenology and track critical phenological events. However, quantitative assessment of the structural and biochemical controls of the phenological patterns in camera images has rarely been done. In this study, we used an NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) camera to monitor daily variations of vegetation reflectance at visible and near-infrared (NIR) bands with high spatial and temporal resolutions, and found that the infrared camera based NDVI (camera-NDVI) agreed well with the leaf expansion process that was measured by independent manual observations at Harvard Forest, Massachusetts, USA. We also measured the seasonality of canopy structural (leaf area index, LAI) and biochemical properties (leaf chlorophyll and nitrogen content). Here we found significant linear relationships between camera-NDVI and leaf chlorophyll concentration, and between camera-NDVI and leaf nitrogen content, though weaker relationships between camera-NDVI and LAI. Therefore, we recommend ground-based camera-NDVI as a powerful tool for long-term, near surface observations to monitor canopy development and to estimate leaf chlorophyll, nitrogen status,more » and LAI.« less
 [1] ; ORCiD logo [2] ; ORCiD logo [3] ;  [4] ;  [3]
  1. Nanjing Univ., Jiangsu (China). School of Life Sciences; Marine Biological Lab., Woods Hole, MA (United States). Ecosystems Center
  2. Brown Univ., Providence, RI (United States). Dept. of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences; Univ. of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA (United States). Dept. of Environmental Sciences
  3. Marine Biological Lab., Woods Hole, MA (United States). Ecosystems Center
  4. Nanjing Univ., Jiangsu (China). School of Life Sciences
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
SC0006951; DBI-959333; AGS-1005663
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Scientific Reports
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 7; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 2045-2322
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23); National Science Foundation (NSF)
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; Ecosystem ecology; Forest ecology
OSTI Identifier: