- The in uence of soil background on most vegetation indices (VIs) derived from remotely sensed imagery is a well known phenomenon, and has generated interest in the development of indices that would be less sensitive to this in uence. Several such indices have been developed thus far. This paper focuses on testing and comparing the sensitivity of seven intensively used, Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) derived, VIs (NDVI, SAVI, MSAVI, PVI, WDVI, SAVI 2 and TSAVI) to bare surface variation with almost no vegetation signal. The study was conducted on a terrain composed of a high variety of bare surface materials of which basalt and gypsum are two extremely dark and bright substrates respect-ively. It was found that SAVI and MSAVI respond to bare surface material very similarly. Such close similarity was also found between PVI and WDVI, and between SAVI 2 and TSAVI. NDVI tends to be overestimated on dark surfaces, while SAVI, PVI and TSAVI show more sensitivity to bright surfaces. Comparison between D VI (the diVerence between pairs of VIs) and the brightness of the diVerent surface materials showed a high correlation in each case, which underlines the fact that the response of diVerent VIs to bare surface variation is mainly related to the surface brightness.