Prediction of soil characteristics over large areas is desirable for environmental modeling. In arid environments, soil characteristics often show strong ecological connectivity with natural vegetation, specifically biomass and/or canopy cover, suggesting that the soil characteristics may be predicted from vegetation data. The objective of this study was to predict soil infiltration characteristics and horizon (soil layer) thickness using vegetation data for a large-scale water balance model in an arid region. Double-ring infiltrometer tests (at 23 sites), horizon thickness measurements (58 sites) and vegetation surveys (35 sites) were conducted in a 30 km × 50 km area in Western Australia during 1999 to 2003. The relationships between soil parameters and vegetation data were evaluated quantitatively by simple linear regression. The parameters for initial-term infiltration had strong and positive correlations with biomass and canopy coverage (R2
= 0.64 − 0.81). The horizon thickness also had strong positive correlations with vegetation properties (R2
= 0.53 − 0.67). These results suggest that the soil infiltration parameters and horizon thickness can be spatially predicted by properties of vegetation using their linear regression based equations and vegetation maps. The background and reasons of the strong ecological connectivity between soil and vegetation in this region were also considered.
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