Assessment of MODIS NPP algorithm-based estimates using soil fertility and forest inventory data in mixed hemiboreal forests

Mait Lang 1 , 2 , Raimo Kõlli 3 , Maris Nikopensius 2 , Tiit Nilson 1 , Mathias Neumann 4  and Adam Moreno 5
  • 1 , 61602, Estonia
  • 2 Institute of Forestry and Rural Engineering, Estonian University of Life Sciences, 51014, Tartu, Estonia
  • 3 Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Estonian University of Life Sciences, 51014, Tartu, Estonia
  • 4 Institute of Silviculture, Department of Forest and Soil Sciences, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, A-1190, Wien, Austria
  • 5 NASA Ames Research Center, , 94035-0001, United States of America


Optical remote sensing data-based estimates of terrestrial net primary production (NPP) are released by different projects using light use efficiency-type models. Although spatial resolution of the NPP data sets is still too coarse (500–1000 m) for single forest stands, regional monitoring of forest management and growth with 25–100 ha sampling units is feasible if the NPPSAT estimates are sensitive to forest growth differences depending on soil fertility in the area of interest. In this study, NPP estimates for 2,914 mixed forest class pixels (according to the MODIS land cover map) located in Estonia were (1) obtained from three different NPPSAT products, (2) calculated using an empirical soil potential phytoproductivity (SPP) model applied to a 1:10,000 soil map (NPPSPP), and (3) calculated using stem volume increment estimates given in a forest management inventory data base (NPPFIDB). A linear multiple regression model was then used to explore the relationships of NPPSAT with the proportion of coniferous forests, the NPPSPP and distance of the pixels from the Baltic Sea coast – the variables that have been found informative in previous studies. We found a positive moderate correlation (0.57, p < 0.001) between NPPSPP and NPPFIDB. The local or downscaled meteorological data-based NPPSAT estimates were more consistent with the NPPSPP and NPPFIDB, but the correlation with NPPSAT was weak and sometimes even negative. The range of NPP estimates in NPPSAT data sets was much narrower than the range of NPPSPP or NPPFIDB. Errors in land cover maps and in estimates of absorbed photosynthetically active radiation were identified as the main reasons for NPPSAT inconsistencies.

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