Articles | Volume 2, issue 1
SOIL, 2, 25–39, 2016
SOIL, 2, 25–39, 2016

Original research article 18 Jan 2016

Original research article | 18 Jan 2016

Pedotransfer functions for Irish soils – estimation of bulk density (ρb) per horizon type

B. Reidy, I. Simo, P. Sills, and R. E. Creamer B. Reidy et al.
  • Teagasc, Johnstown Castle, Environment Research Centre, Co. Wexford, Ireland

Abstract. Soil bulk density is a key property in defining soil characteristics. It describes the packing structure of the soil and is also essential for the measurement of soil carbon stock and nutrient assessment. In many older surveys this property was neglected and in many modern surveys this property is omitted due to cost both in laboratory and labour and in cases where the core method cannot be applied. To overcome these oversights pedotransfer functions are applied using other known soil properties to estimate bulk density. Pedotransfer functions have been derived from large international data sets across many studies, with their own inherent biases, many ignoring horizonation and depth variances. Initially pedotransfer functions from the literature were used to predict different horizon type bulk densities using local known bulk density data sets. Then the best performing of the pedotransfer functions were selected to recalibrate and then were validated again using the known data. The predicted co-efficient of determination was 0.5 or greater in 12 of the 17 horizon types studied. These new equations allowed gap filling where bulk density data were missing in part or whole soil profiles. This then allowed the development of an indicative soil bulk density map for Ireland at 0–30 and 30–50 cm horizon depths. In general the horizons with the largest known data sets had the best predictions, using the recalibrated and validated pedotransfer functions.

Short summary
This study reviews pedotransfer functions from the literature for different soil and horizon types. It uses these formulae to predict bulk density (ρb) per horizon using measured data of other soil properties. These data were compared to known pb per horizon and recalibrated. These calculations were used to fill missing horizon data in the Irish soil database. This allowed the generation of a pb map to 50 cm. These pb data are at horizon level allowing more accurate estimation of C with depth.