Small scale digital soil mapping in Southeastern Kenya

A. Mora-Vallejo, L. Claessens, J. Stoorvogel, G.B.M. Heuvelink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Digital soil mapping techniques appear to be an interesting alternative for traditional soil survey techniques. However, most applications deal with (semi-)detailed soil surveys where soil variability is determined by a limited number of soil forming factors. The question that remains is whether digital soil mapping techniques are equally suitable for exploratory or reconnaissance soil surveys in more extensive areas with limited data availability. We applied digital soil mapping in a 13,500 km2 study area in Kenya with the main aim to create a reconnaissance soil map to assess clay and soil organic carbon contents in terraced maize fields. Soil spatial variability prediction was based on environmental correlation using the concepts of the soil forming factors equation. During field work, 95 composite soil samples were collected. Auxiliary spatially exhaustive data provided insight on the spatial variation of climate, land cover, topography and parent material. The final digital soil maps were elaborated using regression kriging. The variance explained by the regression kriging models was estimated as 13% and 37% for soil organic carbon and clay respectively. These results were confirmed by cross-validation and provide a significant improvement compared to the existing soil survey.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-53
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes


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