National-scale digital soil mapping performances are related to covariates and sampling density: Lessons from France - INRAE - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement Access content directly
Journal Articles Geoderma Régional Year : 2024

National-scale digital soil mapping performances are related to covariates and sampling density: Lessons from France

Azamat Suleymanov
  • Function : Author
Anne C Richer-De-Forges
Nicolas P. A. Saby
Dominique Arrouays
Manuel P Martin
Antonio Bispo

Abstract

Accurate soil property and class predictions through spatial modelling necessitate a thoughtful selection of explanatory variables and sample size, as their choice greatly impacts model performance. Within the framework of Global Soil Nutrient and Nutrient Budgets maps (GSNmap), the FAO Global Soil Partnership (GSP) launched a country-driven digital soil mapping (DSM) approach. The GSP asked the countries if they could implement the DSM prediction of ten soil properties, using their national point data and a set of widely available covariates (GSP_Cov). In this study, we examined the effect of including additional national-based covariates and soil observations on the performance of the prediction models using mainland France as a pilot. The learning soil dataset was based on a systematic 16-to-16 km grid. For a subset of soil properties, we also assessed using repeated k-fold cross-validation the effect of adding to this dataset many other irregularly spread measurements. The GSP_Cov included common widely available covariates that represented information about terrain, climate, and organisms. The second set of covariates consisted of the GSP_Cov, extended to extra covariates available at a national level, such as previously existing soil maps, geological maps, remote sensing products and others. Random Forest approach in combination with the Boruta selection method was employed for mapping ten soil properties: soil organic carbon (SOC), pH (water), total nitrogen (N), available phosphorus (P), available potassium (K), cation exchange capacity (CEC), bulk density (BD), and texture (clay, silt, and sand). The results revealed noteworthy enhancements in prediction performance for more than half of the properties, although, for some of them, the improvements were negligible. The most significant improvements were obtained for pH, CEC and texture, where geological variables and a previous pH map significantly contributed to the increase in accuracy. Adding numerous points (around 25,000) to the learning dataset improved the performance of soil particle-size fractions predictions. By broadening the spectrum of covariates and better covering the feature and geographical spaces considered in soil prediction models, this research underscores the importance of implementing a more diverse range of covariates at a national scale and of densifying soil information to enlarge the feature and geographical spaces of multidimensional soil/covariates combinations. This information should be taken into account in national and continental digital soil mapping endeavours.

Dates and versions

hal-04558626 , version 1 (25-04-2024)

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Azamat Suleymanov, Anne C Richer-De-Forges, Nicolas P. A. Saby, Dominique Arrouays, Manuel P Martin, et al.. National-scale digital soil mapping performances are related to covariates and sampling density: Lessons from France. Geoderma Régional, 2024, pp.e00801. ⟨10.1016/j.geodrs.2024.e00801⟩. ⟨hal-04558626⟩
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