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Implications of short-range spatial variation of soil bulk density for adequate field-sampling protocols: methodology and results from two contrasting soils

Lark, R.M.; Rawlins, B.G.; Robinson, D.A.; Lebron, I.; Tye, A.M.. 2014 Implications of short-range spatial variation of soil bulk density for adequate field-sampling protocols: methodology and results from two contrasting soils. European Journal of Soil Science, 65 (6). 803-814. 10.1111/ejss.12178

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Abstract/Summary

Soil bulk density (BD) is measured during soil monitoring. Because it is spatially variable, an appropriate sampling protocol is required. This paper shows how information on short-range variability can be used to quantify uncertainty of estimates of mean BD and soil organic carbon on a volumetric basis (SOCv) at a sampling site with different sampling intensities. We report results from two contrasting study areas, with mineral soil and with peat. More sites should be investigated to develop robust protocols for national-scale monitoring, but these results illustrate the methodology. A 20 × 20-m2 monitoring site was considered and sampling protocols were evaluated under geostatistical models of our two study areas. At sites with local soil variability comparable to our mineral soil, sampling at 16 points (4 × 4 square grid of interval 5 m) would achieve a root mean square error (RMSE) of the sample mean value of both BD and SOCv of less than 5% of the mean (topsoil and subsoil). Pedotransfer functions (PTFs) gave predictions of mean soil BD at a sample site, comparable to our study area on mineral soil, with similar precision to a single direct measurement of BD. On peat soils comparable to our second study area, the mean BD for the monitoring site at depth 0–50 cm would be estimated with RMSE to be less than 5% of the mean with a sample of 16 cores, but at greater depths this criterion cannot be achieved with 25 cores or fewer.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1111/ejss.12178
CEH Sections: Emmett
ISSN: 1351-0754
Date made live: 19 Jan 2015 14:58 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/509424

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