MODELING PINUS ELLIOTTII GROWTH WITH MULTITEMPORAL LANDSAT DATA: A STUDY CASE IN SOUTHERN BRAZIL

Abstract Remote sensing data are a key proxy to forest monitoring and management at local, regional and global scales. Considering the hypothesis that NDVI and EVI can be used at least during one decade to monitor Pinus elliottii in Southern Brazil, the objective of this study was to identify saturation time after planting of these vegetation indices in a Pinus elliottii plantation and the most suitable index by adjusting theoretical functions to each one of them. Based on Landsat Surface Reflectance Higher-Level Data Products, 32 scenes were selected between 1984 to 2015. A set of theoretical polynomial, gaussian and logistic mathematical functions were applied to fit the experimental data on vegetation indices. The determination coefficient (R²) and RMSE at 95% probability were also used. Finally, EVI efficiency was tested by changing the L parameter. The logistic model was the one that best explained the data resulting from NDVI and EVI over time. NDVI was more effective than EVI for this forest monitoring, identifying the forest growth pattern until its 18 years of age. EVI may have been saturated after 14 years and the L factor may be set to near to zero to achieve a higher coefficient of determination.