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Natural Resources Science


Accurate digital soil mapping (DSM) of soil organic carbon (SOC) is still a challenging subject because of its spatial variability and dependency. This study is aimed at comparing six typical methods in three types of DSM techniques for SOC mapping in an area surrounding Changchun in Northeast China. The methods include ordinary kriging (OK) and geographically weighted regression (GWR) from geostatistics, support vector machines for regression (SVR) and artificial neural networks (ANN) from machine learning, and geographically weighted regression kriging (GWRK) and artificial neural networks kriging (ANNK) from hybrid approaches. The hybrid approaches, in particular, integrated the GWR from geostatistics and ANN from machine learning with the estimation of residuals by ordinary kriging, respectively. Environmental variables, including soil properties, climatic, topographic, and remote sensing data, were used for modeling. The mapping results of SOC content from different models were validated by independent testing data based on values of the mean error, root mean squared error and coefficient of determination. The prediction maps depicted spatial variation and patterns of SOC content of the study area. The results showed the accuracy ranking of the compared methods in decreasing order was ANNK, SVR, ANN, GWRK, OK, and GWR. Two-step hybrid approaches performed better than the corresponding individual models, and non-linear models performed better than the linear models. When considering the uncertainty and efficiency, ML and two-step approach are more suitable than geostatistics in regional landscapes with the high heterogeneity. The study concludes that ANNK is a promising approach for mapping SOC content at a local scale.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.