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Amélie Marie Beucher

Mapping of Peat Thickness Using a Multi-Receiver Electromagnetic Induction Instrument

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Peatlands constitute extremely valuable areas because of their ability to store large amounts of soil organic carbon (SOC). Investigating different key peat soil properties, such as the extent, thickness (or depth to mineral soil) and bulk density, is highly relevant for the precise calculation of the amount of stored SOC at the field scale. However, conventional peat coring surveys are both labor-intensive and time-consuming, and indirect mapping methods based on proximal sensors appear as a powerful supplement to traditional surveys. The aim of the present study was to assess the use of a non-invasive electromagnetic induction (EMI) technique as an augmentation to a traditional peat coring survey that provides localized and discrete measurements. In particular, a DUALEM-421S instrument was used to measure the apparent electrical conductivity (ECa) over a 10-ha field located in Jutland, Denmark. In the study area, the peat thickness varied notably from north to south, with a range from 3 to 730 cm. Simple and multiple linear regressions with soil observations from 110 sites were used to predict peat thickness from (a) raw ECa measurements (i.e., single and multiple-coil predictions), (b) true electrical conductivity () estimates calculated using a quasi-three-dimensional inversion algorithm and (c) different combinations of ECa data with environmental covariates (i.e., light detection and ranging (LiDAR)-based elevation and derived terrain attributes). The results indicated that raw ECa data can already constitute relevant predictors for peat thickness in the study area, with single-coil predictions yielding substantial accuracies with coefficients of determination (R2) ranging from 0.63 to 0.86 and root mean square error (RMSE) values between 74 and 122 cm, depending on the measuring DUALEM-421S coil configuration. While the combinations of ECa data (both single and multiple-coil) with elevation generally provided slightly higher accuracies, the uncertainty estimates for single-coil predictions were smaller (i.e., smaller 95% confidence intervals). The present study demonstrates a high potential for EMI data to be used for peat thickness mapping.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2458
JournalRemote Sensing
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

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