DDD Conference

Prof. Tal Svoray

Quantifying Spatial Soil Health Trends at the Catchment Scale

Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel


This presentation discusses the formalization of spatial information on soil health, and its implications, for estimating the quality of the remaining soil in the wake of erosion processes or intensive cultivation period. Such an approach extends the notion of water erosion damage from computation of soil budgets, to comprehensive soil health assessment and the provision of ecosystem services. The research framework described here suggests computing spatial autocorrelation of soil properties, by various methods: Moran’s I, Nugget: Sill ratio, and variogram envelope analysis and the comparison between the three methods. The spatial computations are demonstrated using geoinformatics procedures to show how GIS layers of the Harod catchment in Israel can be used as an input source for the stratified random approach to further allow to apply spatial interpolation techniques—such as Ordinary Kriging, Universal Kriging and Cokriging—as efficient tools for predicting spatial variation in soil health at the catchment scale. The limited ability to scale up soil health mapping from point measurements to large agricultural areas is a major gap in soil research and is also discussed in this presentation. In this regard, the prime contribution of the presentation, scientifically speaking, is the methodology offered for studying the effect of natural and anthropogenic disturbances on remaining soils in a spatially explicit fashion. From an applied standpoint, it provides farmers and professionals with a tool for estimating the state and dynamics of their field.


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