Estimation of Light-use Efficiency of Terrestrial Ecosystem from Space: A Status Report

Nicholas C. Coops, Thomas Hilker, Forrest G. Hall, Caroline J. Nichol, Guillaume G. Drolet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A critical variable in the estimation of gross primary production of terrestrial ecosystems is light-use efficiency (LUE), a value that represents the actual efficiency of a plant's use of absorbed radiation energy to produce biomass. Light-use efficiency is driven by the most limiting of a number of environmental stress factors that reduce plants' photosynthetic capacity; these include short-term stressors, such as photoinhibition, as well as longer-term stressors, such as soil water and temperature. Modeling LUE from remote sensing is governed largely by the biochemical composition of plant foliage, with the past decade seeing important theoretical and modeling advances for understanding the role of these stresses on LUE. In this article we provide a summary of the tower-, aircraft-, and satellite-based research undertaken to date, and discuss the broader scalability of these methods, concluding with recommendations for ongoing research possibilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)788-797
Number of pages10
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010


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