The performance of visible, near-, and mid-infrared reflectance spectroscopy for prediction of soil physical, chemical, and biological properties
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This review addresses the applicability of visible (Vis), near-infrared (NIR), and mid-infrared (MIR) reflectance spectroscopy for the prediction of soil properties. We address (1) the properties that can be predicted and the accuracy of the predictions, (2) the most suitable spectral regions for specific soil properties, (3) the number of predictions reported for each property, and (4) in-field versus laboratory spectral techniques.We found the following properties to be successfully predicted: soil water content, texture, soil carbon (C), cation exchange capacity, calcium and magnesium (exchangeable), total nitrogen (N), pH, concentration of metals/metalloids, microbial size, and activity. Generally, MIR produced better predictions than Vis-NIR, but Vis-NIR outperformed MIR for a number of properties (e.g., biological). An advantage of Vis-NIR is instrument portability although a new range of MIR portable devices is becoming available. In-field predictions for clay, water, total organic C, extractable phosphorus, total C and N appear similar to laboratory methods, but there are issues regarding, for example, sample heterogeneity, moisture content, and surface roughness.The nature of the variable being predicted, the quality and consistency of the reference laboratory methods, and the adequate representation of unknowns by the calibration set must be considered when predicting soil properties using reflectance spectroscopy.
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