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What is the best inference trajectory for mapping soil functions: An example of mapping soil available water capacity over Languedoc Roussillon (France)

Abstract : Extending digital soil mapping to the mapping of soil functions that can support end-user decisions comes to coupling a digital soil mapping procedure and a soil function assessment method. This can be done following various possible inference trajectories following the order with which "combining primary soil properties", "aggregating soil layers across depths" and "mapping" are executed to provide the targeted output. Eighteen inference trajectories, designed for computing soil available water capacity maps in the Languedoc-Roussillon region (France), were compared with regard to their mapping performances. The best performance (SSMSE = 0.42) was obtained by a trajectory that, before mapping, combined the three first GlobalSoilMap soil layers and computed the available water capacity of each layer. The worst (SSMSE = 0.07) was observed when all the soil layers and soil properties were combined prior to mapping. We explain the observed differences between trajectories by examining the differences in mapping errors and in error propagation between the compared trajectories, which involve both the correlations between the soil properties and between their mapping errors. This paves the way to spatial soil inference systems that could perform an ex ante selection of the best possible inference trajectory for mapping a soil function.
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Quentin Styc, Philippe Lagacherie. What is the best inference trajectory for mapping soil functions: An example of mapping soil available water capacity over Languedoc Roussillon (France). Soil Systems, MDPI, 2019, 3 (2), 17 p. ⟨10.3390/soilsystems3020034⟩. ⟨hal-02618478⟩

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