Evaluation of integrative hierarchical stepwise sampling for digital soil mapping

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This paper presents an integrative hierarchical stepwise sampling (IHS) method and two case studies to compare it with stratified random sampling (SRS) and conditioned Latin hypercube sampling (cLHS). The first comparison between IHS and SRS was conducted for mapping sand content of two soil layers in a study area in Anhui Province, China. Two sample sets of the same sample size were collected in the field based on IHS and SRS. The second case study is a simulation study, where we compared IHS and cLHS for mapping soil series in the Raffelson watershed in Wisconsin (USA). The study used an accurate and detailed soil series map produced previously as a proxy of the real soil distribution. Virtual samples with nine sample sizes designed by IHS and cLHS were collected on the soil map. For both case studies, an individual predictive soil mapping method was employed and independent validation samples were used to evaluate the mapping accuracies. Results indicate that IHS generally performs better than SRS for capturing distributions of the environmental variables. It obtained higher mapping accuracies than SRS at different sample sizes. On the other hand, cLHS appears to provide a better representation for distributions of the environmental variables than IHS, but the mapping accuracies with IHS are higher than those with cLHS at nearly all sample sizes. Finally, both case studies showed that IHS provides valuable information on representativeness of the samples.

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Soil Science Society of America Journal

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