NDVI, scale invariance and the modifiable areal unit problem: An assessment of vegetation in the Adelaide Parklands

Hamideh Nouri*, Sharolyn Anderson, Paul Sutton, Simon Beecham, Pamela Nagler, Christopher J. Jarchow, Dar A. Roberts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This research addresses the question as to whether or not the Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) is scale invariant (i.e. constant over spatial aggregation) for pure pixels of urban vegetation. It has been long recognized that there are issues related to the modifiable areal unit problem (MAUP) pertaining to indices such as NDVI and images at varying spatial resolutions. These issues are relevant to using NDVI values in spatial analyses. We compare two different methods of calculation of a mean NDVI: 1) using pixel values of NDVI within feature/object boundaries and 2) first calculating the mean red and mean near-infrared across all feature pixels and then calculating NDVI. We explore the nature and magnitude of these differences for images taken from two sensors, a 1.24 m resolution WorldView-3 and a 0.1 m resolution digital aerial image. We apply these methods over an urban park located in the Adelaide Parklands of South Australia. We demonstrate that the MAUP is not an issue for calculation of NDVI within a sensor for pure urban vegetation pixels. This may prove useful for future rule-based monitoring of the ecosystem functioning of green infrastructure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-18
Number of pages8
JournalScience of the total environment
Volume584-585
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2017

Keywords

  • Airborne image
  • Landscape ecology
  • Vegetation indices
  • Vegetation pixels
  • WorldView-3

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