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Journal of Sensors
Volume 2012, Article ID 582159, 11 pages
Review Article

Review of Available Products of Leaf Area Index and Their Suitability over the Formerly Soviet Central Asia

Department of Geography, Georg-August University of Göttingen, Goldschmidtstraße 5, 37077 Göttingen, Germany

Received 7 June 2011; Revised 16 November 2011; Accepted 19 December 2011

Academic Editor: Tuan Guo

Copyright © 2012 M. W. Kappas and P. A. Propastin. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Leaf area index (LAI) is a key biophysical variable for environmental process modelling. Remotely sensed data have become the primary source for estimation of LAI at the scales from local to global. A summary of existing LAI data sets and a discussion of their appropriateness for the formerly Soviet Central Asia, especially Kazakhstan, which is known for its huge grassland area (about 2 million km2), are valuable for environmental modelling in this region. The paper gives a brief review of existing global LAI products, such as AVHRR LAI, MODIS LAI, and SPOT-VEGETATION LAI, and shows that validation of these products in Kazakhstan as well as in other countries of the formerly Soviet Central Asia has not been carried out yet. Apart from the global LAI products, there are just a few data sets retrieved by remote sensing methods at subregional and regional scales in Kazakhstan. More research activities are needed to focus on the validation of the available global LAI products over the formerly Soviet Central Asia and developing new LAI data sets suitable for application in environmental modelling at different scales in this region.