Proximal sensing for soil carbon accounting
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Maintaining or increasing soil organic carbon (C) is vital for securing food production and for mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, climate change, and land degradation. Some land management practices in cropping, grazing, horticultural, and mixed farming systems can be used to increase organic C in soil, but to assess their effectiveness, we need accurate and cost-efficient methods for measuring and monitoring the change. To determine the stock of organic C in soil, one requires measurements of soil organic C concentration, bulk density, and gravel content, but using conventional laboratory-based analytical methods is expensive. Our aim here is to review the current state of proximal sensing for the development of new soil C accounting methods for emissions reporting and in emissions reduction schemes. We evaluated sensing techniques in terms of their rapidity, cost, accuracy, safety, readiness, and their state of development. The most suitable method for measuring soil organic C concentrations appears to be visible-near-infrared (vis-NIR) spectroscopy and, for bulk density, active gamma-ray attenuation. Sensors for measuring gravel have not been developed, but an interim solution with rapid wet sieving and automated measurement appears useful. Field-deployable, multi-sensor systems are needed for cost-efficient soil C accounting. Proximal sensing can be used for soil organic C accounting, but the methods need to be standardized and procedural guidelines need to be developed to ensure proficient measurement and accurate reporting and verification. These are particularly important if the schemes use financial incentives for landholders to adopt management practices to sequester soil organic C. We list and discuss requirements for developing new soil C accounting methods based on proximal sensing, including requirements for recording, verification, and auditing.
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Lobsey, C.; Viscarra Rossel, Raphael (2016)Measurements of soil bulk density can aid our understanding of soil functions and the effects of land use and climate change on soil organic carbon (C) stocks. Current methods for measuring bulk density are laborious and ...
Accounting for the effects of water and the environment on proximally sensed vis-NIR soil spectra and their calibrationsJi, W.; Viscarra Rossel, Raphael; Shi, Z. (2015)Visible-near infrared (vis-NIR) spectroscopy can be used to estimate soil properties effectively using spectroscopic calibrations derived from data contained in spectroscopic databases. However, these calibrations cannot ...
Viscarra Rossel, Raphael; Brus, D. (2018)Sequestering organic carbon (C) in soil can help to combat land degradation, improve food security, and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. But we need reliable, cost-efficient methods to assess, monitor, ...