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The analysis of ranked observations of soil structure using indicator geostatistics

Kerry, R. and Oliver, M. A. (2007) The analysis of ranked observations of soil structure using indicator geostatistics. Geoderma, 140 (4). pp. 397-416.

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.geoderma.2007.04.020


Structure is an important physical feature of the soil that is associated with water movement, the soil atmosphere, microorganism activity and nutrient uptake. A soil without any obvious organisation of its components is known as apedal and this state can have marked effects on several soil processes. Accurate maps of topsoil and subsoil structure are desirable for a wide range of models that aim to predict erosion, solute transport, or flow of water through the soil. Also such maps would be useful to precision farmers when deciding how to apply nutrients and pesticides in a site-specific way, and to target subsoiling and soil structure stabilization procedures. Typically, soil structure is inferred from bulk density or penetrometer resistance measurements and more recently from soil resistivity and conductivity surveys. To measure the former is both time-consuming and costly, whereas observations made by the latter methods can be made automatically and swiftly using a vehicle-mounted penetrometer or resistivity and conductivity sensors. The results of each of these methods, however, are affected by other soil properties, in particular moisture content at the time of sampling, texture, and the presence of stones. Traditional methods of observing soil structure identify the type of ped and its degree of development. Methods of ranking such observations from good to poor for different soil textures have been developed. Indicator variograms can be computed for each category or rank of structure and these can be summed to give the sum of indicator variograms (SIV). Observations of the topsoil and subsoil structure were made at four field sites where the soil had developed on different parent materials. The observations were ranked by four methods and indicator and the sum of indicator variograms were computed and modelled for each method of ranking. The individual indicators were then kriged with the parameters of the appropriate indicator variogram model to map the probability of encountering soil with the structure represented by that indicator. The model parameters of the SIVs for each ranking system were used with the data to krige the soil structure classes, and the results are compared with those for the individual indicators. The relations between maps of soil structure and selected wavebands from aerial photographs are examined as basis for planning surveys of soil structure. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Soil Research Centre
ID Code:3705
Uncontrolled Keywords:aerial photographs soil structure indicator variograms sum of indicator variograms kriging sampling
Additional Information: Conference Information: Pedometrics Meeting 2005 Naples, FL, SEP 12-14, 2005

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