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Mathieu Lamandé

Opportunities and future directions for visual soil evaluation methods in soil structure research

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As the use of visual soil evaluation (VSE) methods has spread globally, they have been exposed to
different climatic and pedological scenarios, resulting in the need to elucidate limitations, encourage
refinements and open up new avenues of research. The main objective of this paper is to outline the
potential of VSE methods to develop novel soil structure research and how this potential could be
developed and integrated within existing research. We provide a brief overview of VSE methods in order
to summarize the soil information that is obtained by VSE. More detailed VSE methods could be
developed to provide spatial information for soil process models, e.g. compaction models. VSE could be
combined with sensing techniques at the
field or landscape scale for better management of
fields in the
context of precision farming. Further work should be done to integrate plant vigour, roots and soil fauna
into VSE methods to provide general indicators of soil quality and for estimation of environmental risk
factors related to soil C storage, GHG emissions and nutrient leaching, with particular reference to
temporal changes. There is a great potential in combining (rather than comparing) VSE with
measurements of soil structure, i.e. integrating VSE in soil structure and compaction research, as these
methods provide spatial information that is difficult to obtain with other methods.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSoil & Tillage Research
Pages (from-to)104-113
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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