Mapping Soil Properties to Advance the State of Spatial Soil Information for Greater Food Security on US Tribal Lands

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Knowledge, data, and understanding of soils is key for advancing agriculture and society. There is currently a critical need for sustainable soil management tools for enhanced food security on Native American Tribal Lands. Tribal Reservations have basic soil information and limited access to conservation programs provided to other U.S producers. The objective of this study was to create first ever high-resolution digital soil property maps of Quapaw Tribal Lands with limited data for sustainable soil resource management. We used a digital soil mapping (DSM) approach based on fuzzy logic to model the spatial distribution of 24 soil properties at 0–15 and 15–30 cm depths. A digital elevation model with 3 m resolution was used to derive terrain variables and a total of 28 samples were collected at 0–30 cm over the 22,880-ha reservation. Additionally, soil property maps were derived from Gridded Soil Survey Geographic Database (gSSURGO) for comparison. When comparing properties modeled by DSM to those derived from gSSURGO, DSM resulted in lower root mean squared error (RMSE) for percent clay and sand at 0–15 cm, and cation exchange capacity, percent clay, and pH at 15–30 cm. Conversely, gSSURGO-derived maps resulted in lower RMSE for cation exchange capacity, pH, and percent silt at the 0–15 cm depth, and percent sand and silt at the 15–30 cm depth. Although, some of the soil properties derived from gSSURGO had lower RMSE, spatial soil property patterns modeled by DSM were in better agreement with the topographic complexity and expected soil-landscape relationships. The proposed DSM approach developed property maps at high-resolution, which sets the baseline for production of new spatial soil information for Quapaw Tribal soils. It is expected that these maps and future versions will be useful for soil, crop, and land-use decisions at the farm and Tribal-level for increased agricultural productivity and economic development. Overall, this study provides a framework for developing DSM on Tribal Lands for improving the accuracy and detail of soil property maps (relative to off the shelf products such as SSURGO) that better represents soil-forming environments and the spatial variability of soil properties on Tribal Lands.
Soil mapping, Analysis
Fuentes B, Ashworth AJ, Ngunjiri M and Owens P (2021) Mapping Soil Properties to Advance the State of Spatial Soil Information for Greater Food Security on US Tribal Lands. Front. Soil Sci. 1:695386. doi: 10.3389/fsoil.2021.695386