Predicting the spatial distribution of soil organic carbon stock in Swedish forests using a group of covariates and site-specific data.

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From: Soil(Vol. 7, Issue 2)
Publisher: Copernicus GmbH
Document Type: Brief article
Length: 393 words

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Abstract :

The status of the soil organic carbon (SOC) stock at any position in the landscape is subject to a complex interplay of soil state factors operating at different scales and regulating multiple processes resulting either in soils acting as a net sink or net source of carbon. Forest landscapes are characterized by high spatial variability, and key drivers of SOC stock might be specific for sub-areas compared to those influencing the whole landscape. Consequently, separately calibrating models for sub-areas (local models) that collectively cover a target area can result in different prediction accuracy and SOC stock drivers compared to a single model (global model) that covers the whole area. The goal of this study was therefore to (1) assess how global and local models differ in predicting the humus layer, mineral soil, and total SOC stock in Swedish forests and (2) identify the key factors for SOC stock prediction and their scale of influence. We used the Swedish National Forest Soil Inventory (NFSI) database and a digital soil mapping approach to evaluate the prediction performance using random forest models calibrated locally for the northern, central, and southern Sweden (local models) and for the whole of Sweden (global model). Models were built by considering (1) only site characteristics which are recorded on the plot during the NFSI, (2) the group of covariates (remote sensing, historical land use data, etc.) and (3) both site characteristics and group of covariates consisting mostly of remote sensing data. Local models were generally more effective for predicting SOC stock after testing on independent validation data. Using the group of covariates together with NFSI data indicated that such covariates have limited predictive strength but that site-specific covariates from the NFSI showed better explanatory strength for SOC stocks. The most important covariates that influence the humus layer, mineral soil (0-50 cm), and total SOC stock were related to the site-characteristic covariates and include the soil moisture class, vegetation type, soil type, and soil texture. This study showed that local calibration has the potential to improve prediction accuracy, which will vary depending on the type of available covariates.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A667605056