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Leaf Area Index (LAI) is an important parameter of vegetation structure. A number of moderate resolution LAI products have been produced in urgent need of large scale vegetation monitoring. High resolution LAI reference maps are necessary to validate these LAI products. This study used a geostatistical regression (GR) method to estimate LAI reference maps by linking in situ LAI and Landsat TM/ETM+ and SPOT-HRV data over two cropland and two grassland sites. To explore the discrepancies of employing different vegetation indices (VIs) on estimating LAI reference maps, this study established the GR models for different VIs, including difference vegetation index (DVI), normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), and ratio vegetation index (RVI). To further assess the performance of the GR model, the results from the GR and Reduced Major Axis (RMA) models were compared. The results show that the performance of the GR model varies between the cropland and grassland sites. At the cropland sites, the GR model based on DVI provides the best estimation, while at the grassland sites, the GR model based on DVI performs poorly. Compared to the RMA model, the GR model improves the accuracy of reference LAI maps in terms of root mean square errors (RMSE) and bias

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This is an author-produced, peer-reviewed version of this article. © 2016, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. Details regarding the use of this work can be found at: . The final, definitive version of this document can be found online at the International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation. doi: 10.1016/j.jag.2016.02.010