Soil Bulk Density by Soil Type, Land Use and Data Source: Putting the Error in SOC Estimates

Thursday, December 14, 2017 - 08:00
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An important part of SOC stock and pool assessment is the assessment, estimation, and application of bulk density estimates. The concept of bulk density is relatively simple (the mass of soil in a given volume), the specifics Bulk density can be difficult to measure in soils due to logistical and methodological constraints. While many estimates of SOC pools use legacy data in their estimates, few concerted efforts have been made to assess the process used to convert laboratory carbon concentration measurements and bulk density collection into volumetrically based SOC estimates. The methodologies used are particularly sensitive in wetlands and organic soils with high amounts of carbon and very low bulk densities. We will present an analysis across four database measurements: NCSS – the National Cooperative Soil Survey Characterization dataset, RaCA – the Rapid Carbon Assessment sample dataset, NWCA – the National Wetland Condition Assessment, and ISCN - the International soil Carbon Network. The relationship between bulk density and soil organic carbon will be evaluated by dataset and land use/land cover information. Prediction methods (both regression and machine learning) will be compared and contrasted across datasets and available input information. The assessment and application of bulk density, including modeling, aggregation and error propagation will be evaluated. Finally, recommendations will be made about both the use of new data in soil survey products (such as SSURGO) and the use of that information as legacy data in SOC pool estimates.

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