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A lot of papers mention that Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) is sensitive to soil background such as bare soil. My question is what is the exact reason behind the impact of soil on NDVI?

For example, in case of semi-arid environments where there is a lot of bare soil and sparse vegetation, NDVI is not recommended as it is influenced by bare soil. And that is why indices such as the Modified Soil Adjusted Vegetation Index (MSAVI) is used for such landscapes.

Reference

Qi, J., Chehbouni, A., Huete, A. R., Kerr, Y. H., & Sorooshian, S. (1994). A modified soil adjusted vegetation index. Remote sensing of environment, 48(2), 119-126.

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    $\begingroup$ Soil is a different color than vegetation, and it radiates infrared differently. It would be good if you could reference the papers you are referring to. NDVI is a ratio of near infrared to red plus near infrared. Not sure if you are looking for more detail on what the spectrum of soil is... or how NDVI is calculated. In general, if you take a picture at several wavelengths, soil will stand out from vegetation pretty easily. eos.com/blog/ndvi-faq-all-you-need-to-know-about-ndvi $\endgroup$
    – f.thorpe
    Jul 9 at 15:27

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