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The purpose of the described research was an attempt to estimate the leaf area index (LAI) parameter describing the structure of the vegetation based on the Landsat 5TM satellite imagery and field measurements made with the use of an optical plant canopy analyzer. The study was carried out in north-eastern Poland in the Biebrza river valley within the boundaries of the Biebrza National Park during the growing season of the year 2007. There were 13 spectral indices given in the literature known to be correlated with the LAI. The highest coefficient of determination and the highest correlation coefficient were obtained for the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and the soil adjusted vegetation index (SAVI) indices for the wetland areas in the Biebrza river valley. The field measurements of the leaf area index and its spatial representation on satellite image show that the vegetation of natural river valleys is characterized by high spatial and seasonal variability. The study of the LAI on such large natural areas that are extensively used also requires knowledge of the methods of land use and the application of individual agrotechnical measures.
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