Prediction of soil properties using imaging spectroscopy: Considering fractional vegetation cover to improve accuracy

Domingues Franceschini, Marston; Demattê, J.A.M.; Silva Terra, F. Da; Vicente, L.; Bartholomeus, H.M.; Souza Filho, C. De


Spectroscopic techniques have become attractive to assess soil properties because they are fast, require little labor and may reduce the amount of laboratory waste produced when compared to conventional methods. Imaging spectroscopy (IS) can have further advantages compared to laboratory or field proximal spectroscopic approaches such as providing spatially continuous information with a high density. However, the accuracy of IS derived predictions decreases when the spectral mixture of soil with other targets occurs. This paper evaluates the use of spectral data obtained by an airborne hyperspectral sensor (ProSpecTIR-VS – Aisa dual sensor) for prediction of physical and chemical properties of Brazilian highly weathered soils (i.e., Oxisols). A methodology to assess the soil spectral mixture is adapted and a progressive spectral dataset selection procedure, based on bare soil fractional cover, is proposed and tested. Satisfactory performances are obtained specially for the quantification of clay, sand and CEC using airborne sensor data (R2 of 0.77, 0.79 and 0.54; RPD of 2.14, 2.22 and 1.50, respectively), after spectral data selection is performed; although results obtained for laboratory data are more accurate (R2 of 0.92, 0.85 and 0.75; RPD of 3.52, 2.62 and 2.04, for clay, sand and CEC, respectively). Most importantly, predictions based on airborne-derived spectra for which the bare soil fractional cover is not taken into account show considerable lower accuracy, for example for clay, sand and CEC (RPD of 1.52, 1.64 and 1.16, respectively). Therefore, hyperspectral remotely sensed data can be used to predict topsoil properties of highly weathered soils, although spectral mixture of bare soil with vegetation must be considered in order to achieve an improved prediction accuracy.