Current issue: 54(3)
Accurate mapping of the spatial distribution of understory species from spectral images requires ground reference data which represent the prevailing phenological stage at the time of image acquisition. We measured the spectral bidirectional reflectance factors (BRFs, 350–2500 nm) at varying view angles for lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea L.) and blueberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L.) throughout the growing season of 2017 using Finnish Geospatial Research Institute’s FIGIFIGO field goniometer. Additionally, we measured spectra of leaves and berries of both species, and flowers of lingonberry. Both lingonberry and blueberry showed seasonality in visible and near-infrared spectral regions which was linked to occurrences of leaf growth, flowering, berrying, and leaf senescence. The seasonality of spectra differed between species due to different phenologies (evergreen vs. deciduous). Vegetation indices, normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), moisture stress index (MSI), plant senescence reflectance index (PSRI), and red-edge inflection point (REIP2), showed characteristic seasonal trends. NDVI and PSRI were sensitive to the presence of flowers and berries of lingonberry, while with blueberry the effects were less evident. Off-nadir observations supported differentiating the dwarf shrub species from each other but showed little improvement for detection of flowers and berries. Lingonberry and blueberry can be identified by their spectral signatures if ground reference data are available over the entire growing season. The spectral data measured in this study are reposited in the publicly open SPECCHIO Spectral Information System.