ESTIMATION OF SOIL BULK DENSITY AND CARBON USING MULTI-SOURCE REMOTELY SENSED DATA
Bulk density and soil carbon models were fitted for soil samples collected during field campaigns in 2018 and 2019 for the Kapuskasing region of the District of Cochrane in Ontario, Canada. Prediction maps for bulk density and soil carbon were generated for the 0–15 cm depth mineral soil layer. The application of multi-source remotely sensed data as environmental covariates for model predictors was implemented. Environmental covariates were obtained from multispectral satellite imagery, LiDAR (light detection and ranging) retrievals and airborne geomagnetic surveys, as well from a digital elevation model (DEM) for topographic covariates. Two covariates derived from LiDAR, canopy height model (CHM) and gap fraction, were of high variable importance when fitting models for average bulk density; gap fraction had the highest to second highest variable importance for average bulk density when considered among a full set of 76, or reduced sets of 12 or 5 separate predictors respectively. Environmental covariates corresponding to vegetation cover, specifically reflectance from multispectral imagery or LiDAR data, had the highest variable importance when compared with other categories of soil formation factors. Random forest (RF) models were generated, with RF models based upon just 12 predictors obtaining reasonable results with coefficients of determinations (R 2) greater than 0.7 for the standard derivation of bulk density, standard deviation of total carbon and average total carbon for the 0–15 cm depth layer.