What can legacy datasets tell us about soil quality trends? Soil acidity in Victoria

Marchant, B.P.; Crawford, D.M.; Robinson, N.J.. 2015 What can legacy datasets tell us about soil quality trends? Soil acidity in Victoria. In: Earth and environmental science. Institute of Physics, 012015. (IOP Conference Series, 25, 25).

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Purpose-built soil monitoring networks have been established in many countries to identify where soil functionality is threatened and to target remediation initiatives. An alternative to purpose-built soil monitoring networks is to use legacy soils information. Such information yields almost instant assessments of soil change but the results should be interpreted with caution since the information was not collected with monitoring in mind. We assess the threat of soil acidification in Victoria using two legacy datasets: (i) the Victorian Soils Information System (VSIS) which is a repository of the results of soil analyses conducted for scientific purposes since the 1950s and (ii) a database of 75 000 routine soil test results requested by farmers between 1973 and 1993. We find that the VSIS measurements are clustered in space and time and are therefore suitable for local rather than broad-scale assessments of soil change. The farmers' results have better spatial and temporal coverage and space-time models can be used to quantify the spatial and temporal trends in the pH measurements. However, careful validation of these findings is required since we do not completely understand how the measured paddocks were selected and we cannot be certain that sampling or laboratory protocols have not changed with time.

Item Type: Publication - Book Section
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 1755-1307
Date made live: 25 Sep 2015 07:23 +0 (UTC)

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