The relationship between diffuse spectral reflectance of the soil and its cation exchange capacity is scale-dependent
Savvides, A., Corstanje, R., Baxter, S.J., Rawlins, B.G. and Lark, R.M. (2010) The relationship between diffuse spectral reflectance of the soil and its cation exchange capacity is scale-dependent. Geoderma, 154 (3-4). pp. 353-358. ISSN 0016-7061
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.geoderma.2009.11.007
Diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (DRS) is increasingly being used to predict numerous soil physical, chemical and biochemical properties. However, soil properties and processes vary at different scales and, as a result, relationships between soil properties often depend on scale. In this paper we report on how the relationship between one such property, cation exchange capacity (CEC), and the DRS of the soil depends on spatial scale. We show this by means of a nested analysis of covariance of soils sampled on a balanced nested design in a 16 km × 16 km area in eastern England. We used principal components analysis on the DRS to obtain a reduced number of variables while retaining key variation. The first principal component accounted for 99.8% of the total variance, the second for 0.14%. Nested analysis of the variation in the CEC and the two principal components showed that the substantial variance components are at the > 2000-m scale. This is probably the result of differences in soil composition due to parent material. We then developed a model to predict CEC from the DRS and used partial least squares (PLS) regression do to so. Leave-one-out cross-validation results suggested a reasonable predictive capability (R2 = 0.71 and RMSE = 0.048 molc kg− 1). However, the results from the independent validation were not as good, with R2 = 0.27, RMSE = 0.056 molc kg− 1 and an overall correlation of 0.52. This would indicate that DRS may not be useful for predictions of CEC. When we applied the analysis of covariance between predicted and observed we found significant scale-dependent correlations at scales of 50 and 500 m (0.82 and 0.73 respectively). DRS measurements can therefore be useful to predict CEC if predictions are required, for example, at the field scale (50 m). This study illustrates that the relationship between DRS and soil properties is scale-dependent and that this scale dependency has important consequences for prediction of soil properties from DRS data