Vegetation canopy cover (VCC) and Above-Ground Phytomass (AGP) are the most important indicators of rangeland ecosystem’s structure and function, therefore their accurate evaluation and monitoring is vital for ecosystem welfare. Vegetation indices, are essential tools for assessing and monitoring VCC and AGP which have not been addressed under different managerial conditions, so far. In the present study, the effect of long-term grazing and enclosure (26-year) on the relationship between the VCC and AGP with vegetation indices were evaluated in the Sabzkouh protected area of ChaharmahalVaBkhtiari province using Landsat-8 images. VCC and AGP were evaluated in both grazed and enclosed area by 10 plots of 30*30-m in each of which three quadrates of 2×2 square meters were applied (totally 60 quadrates) in the June, 2016. The results indicate significant differences between grazed and enclosed areas in terms of VCC (57% and 46 respectively) and AGP (with 1656 and 1011 kg per hectare, respectively).
The soil adjusted vegetation indices show a more significant prediction of VCC in enclosed and grazed areas (TSAVI1=0.828 and PVI3=0.884, respectively). The PVI2 index showed appropriate results for estimating AGP in both enclosed (R2=0.726) and grazed (R2=0.698) areas. The improved performance of these indies is mainly due to the adjustment of soil effects. Our results suggest that grazing caused a significant effect on the relationship between VCC and AGP with vegetation indices due to feasible changes in vegetation structure or composition. Therefore, using different indices is necessary to study and monitor different rangelands under management strategies.