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NEW PAPER: High Resolution Hydric Soil Mapping using LiDAR Digital Terrain Modeling

Posted: March 23, 2016

The recent availability of 1-m laser imaging, detection, and ranging (LiDAR) data in Pennsylvania provides a high resolution digital elevation model (DEM) which could improve on existing USDA-NRCS Order 2 soil survey mapping. The ability of LiDAR derived terrain indices to predict hydric soil presence was evaluated across the Northern Appalachians. We developed a logistic regression model to predict hydric soil presence using a dataset of 1153-field data points and several terrain indices derived from LiDAR DEMs. The best performing regression model included slope derived from a 1-m LiDAR DEM, depressions derived from a 5-m LiDAR DEM, and physiographic region. This model was able to successfully predict 67% of hydric soils and 73% of non-hydric soils from a validation dataset. The model performed better at predicting non-hydric soils compared with hydric soils and was not as effective in low slope areas. This suggests that the 1-m LiDAR hydrologic variables used in the study cannot completely account for soil hydric status.
Fink, C.M. and Drohan, P.J., 2016. High Resolution Hydric Soil Mapping using LiDAR Digital Terrain Modeling. Soil Science Society of America Journal. doi:10.2136/sssaj2015.07.0270