Prediction of soil properties with machine learning models based on the spectral response of soil samples in the near infrared range

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Abstract

One of the basic methods for soil analysis time and cost reduction is using soil sample spectral response in laboratory conditions. The problem with this method lies in determining the relationship between the shape of the soil spectral response and soil physical or chemical properties. The LUCAS soil database collected by the EU’s ESDAC research centre is good material to analyse the relationship between the soil properties and the near infrared (NIR) spectral response. The modelling described in the paper is based on these data. The analysis of the impact of soil properties configuration on absorbance levels in various NIR spectrum ranges was conducted using the stepwise regression models with the properties, properties squared and products of properties being explanatory variables. The analysis of partial correlation of soil properties values with absorbance values and absorbance derivative in the entire spectral range was conducted in order to evaluate the impact of the absorbance transformation (the first derivative of absorbance vector) on the change of significance of relationship with properties values. The Multi Layer Perceptron (MLP) models were used to estimate the absorbance relationship with single soil features. Soil property modelling based on the selection and transformation algorithm of raw values and first and second absorbance derivatives was also conducted along with the suitability evaluation of such models in building digital soil maps. The absorbance is affected by a limited number of tested soil features like pH, texture, content of carbonates, SOC, N, and CEC; P and K contents have, in case of this research, a negligible impact. The NIR methodology can be suitable in conditions of limited soil variation and particularly in development of thematic soil maps.

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CiteScore 2018: 1.08

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.427
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