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The Representative Soil Sampling Scheme of England and Wales: the spatial variation of topsoil nutrient status and pH between 1971 and 2001

Baxter, S. J., Oliver, M. A. and Archer, J. R. (2006) The Representative Soil Sampling Scheme of England and Wales: the spatial variation of topsoil nutrient status and pH between 1971 and 2001. Soil Use and Management, 22 (4). pp. 383-392. ISSN 0266-0032

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-2743.2006.00047.x


The Representative Soil Sampling Scheme (RSSS) has monitored the soil of agricultural land in England and Wales since 1969. Here we describe the first spatial analysis of the data from these surveys using geostatistics. Four years of data (1971, 1981, 1991 and 2001) were chosen to examine the nutrient (available K, Mg and P) and pH status of the soil. At each farm, four fields were sampled; however, for the earlier years, coordinates were available for the farm only and not for each field. The averaged data for each farm were used for spatial analysis and the variograms showed spatial structure even with the smaller sample size. These variograms provide a reasonable summary of the larger scale of variation identified from the data of the more intensively sampled National Soil Inventory. Maps of kriged predictions of K generally show larger values in the central and southeastern areas (above 200 mg L-1) and an increase in values in the west over time, whereas Mg is fairly stable over time. The kriged predictions of P show a decline over time, particularly in the east, and those of pH show an increase in the east over time. Disjunctive kriging was used to examine temporal changes in available P using probabilities less than given thresholds of this element. The RSSS was not designed for spatial analysis, but the results show that the data from these surveys are suitable for this purpose. The results of the spatial analysis, together with those of the statistical analyses, provide a comprehensive view of the RSSS database as a basis for monitoring the soil. These data should be taken into account when future national soil monitoring schemes are designed.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Soil Research Centre
ID Code:3232
Uncontrolled Keywords:Representative Soil Sampling Scheme soil sampling geostatistics spatial and temporal variation available nutrients and soil pH soil monitoring SYSTEMS
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