Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Geography and Geology

First Advisor

Dr. Michael Peterson


The last two decades have seen vast progress in the utilization of spectral reflectance digital data for vegetation assessment purposes. The development of over fifty vegetation indices have been documented in the literature. Although the amount of variability between these indices has been studied, no comprehensive review of indice development efforts and theories exists. Therefore, the primary objectives of this study were to; 1) review the history and theories behind the development of the vegetation indices that have been applied in previous research, with particular emphasis on their spectral characteristics and use in grassland environments, and; 2) compare and evaluate the vegetation indices through correlation techniques. Through these correlation techniques, it was determined that a number of the proposed indices provide transformed digital data that are highly redundant. This study identified three separate groups, with three indices each in two groups and two indices in the other, and two groups, each with only a single index. The indices within each group were equivalent in terms of the image data and the statistical analysis. The use of spectral reflectance digital data provides a unique opportunity for resource managers and other interested parties. The use of remotely acquired digital information in rangeland management applications will surely increase as its benefits and capabilities are further uncovered and incorporated into various natural resource management plans.


A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate College and the Department of Geography-Geology University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 1988 Brian Lee Soliday.