Potential of VIS-NIR spectroscopy to characterize and discriminate topsoils of different soil types in the Triffa plain (Morocco)

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Abstract

This study aims to identify the influence of soil organic matter (OM) content and calcium carbonates (CaCO3) on soil reflectance and select the optimum spectral bands for discriminating between topsoils of different soil types situated in the irrigated perimeter of the Triffa plain (Morocco) using VIS-NIR reflectance spectroscopy. Soil samples were collected from the plow layer in 26 sampling sites. The spectral measurements were conducted in the field using an ASD Fieldspec portable spectroradiometer (350–2500 nm), while the soil samples were analyzed in the laboratory. The spectral data were pre-processed to remove the noise effects and then analyzed with the CovSel (selected covariance) method, validated by linear discriminant analysis in order to select the most optimal spectral variables to discriminate between topsoils of different soil types in the plain. The results of the soils reflectance curves showed that low reflectance intensity marked the soils with high OM contents throughout the VIS spectrum. The influence of the soil OM content was very apparent in the VIS range (between 580–750 nm). Regarding the CaCO3 content, it was noted that the soil samples with a high percentage of CaCO3 increase the reflectance in all spectral domains situated between 350 and 2500 nm. The spectral bands of 1999, 686, 1280, 2340 and 1951 nm were the most optimal for the soil discrimination in the Triffa plain. This study concluded that the VIS-NIR spectroscopy demonstrates an excellent ability to characterize and discriminate between topsoils in the Triffa plain.

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