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Remote Sens. 2017, 9(1), 28;

Assessment of Soil Degradation by Erosion Based on Analysis of Soil Properties Using Aerial Hyperspectral Images and Ancillary Data, Czech Republic

Research Institute for Soil and Water Conservation, Žabovřeská 250, Prague CZ 156 27, Czech Republic
Department of Soil Science and Soil Protection, Faculty of Agrobiology, Food and Natural Resources, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Kamýcká 29, Prague CZ 165 00, Czech Republic
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 October 2016 / Revised: 21 December 2016 / Accepted: 28 December 2016 / Published: 1 January 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing Applied to Soils: From Ground to Space)
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The assessment of the soil redistribution and real long-term soil degradation due to erosion on agriculture land is still insufficient in spite of being essential for soil conservation policy. Imaging spectroscopy has been recognized as a suitable tool for soil erosion assessment in recent years. In our study, we bring an approach for assessment of soil degradation by erosion by means of determining soil erosion classes representing soils differently influenced by erosion impact. The adopted methods include extensive field sampling, laboratory analysis, predictive modelling of selected soil surface properties using aerial hyperspectral data and the digital elevation model and fuzzy classification. Different multivariate regression techniques (Partial Least Square, Support Vector Machine, Random forest and Artificial neural network) were applied in the predictive modelling of soil properties. The properties with satisfying performance (R2 > 0.5) were used as input data in erosion classes determination by fuzzy C-means classification method. The study was performed at four study sites about 1 km2 large representing the most extensive soil units of the agricultural land in the Czech Republic (Chernozems and Luvisols on loess and Cambisols and Stagnosols on crystalline rocks). The influence of site-specific conditions on prediction of soil properties and classification of erosion classes was assessed. The prediction accuracy (R2) of the best performing models predicting the soil properties varies in range 0.8–0.91 for soil organic carbon content, 0.21–0.67 for sand content, 0.4–0.92 for silt content, 0.38–0.89 for clay content, 0.73–089 for Feox, 0.59–0.78 for Fed and 0.82 for CaCO3. The performance and suitability of different properties for erosion classes’ classification are highly variable at the study sites. Soil organic carbon was the most frequently used as the erosion classes’ predictor, while the textural classes showed lower applicability. The presented approach was successfully applied in Chernozem and Luvisol loess regions where the erosion classes were assessed with a good overall accuracy (82% and 67%, respectively). The model performance in two Cambisol/Stagnosol regions was rather poor (51%–52%). The results showed that the presented method can be directly and with a good performance applied in pedologically and geologically homogeneous areas. The sites with heterogeneous structure of the soil cover and parent material will require more precise local-fitted models and use of further auxiliary information such as terrain or geological data. The future application of presented approach at a regional scale promises to produce valuable data on actual soil degradation by erosion usable for soil conservation policy purposes. View Full-Text
Keywords: soil erosion; imaging spectroscopy; hyperspectral image; soil properties soil erosion; imaging spectroscopy; hyperspectral image; soil properties

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Žížala, D.; Zádorová, T.; Kapička, J. Assessment of Soil Degradation by Erosion Based on Analysis of Soil Properties Using Aerial Hyperspectral Images and Ancillary Data, Czech Republic. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 28.

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