Field estimations of soil organic carbon

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Field practitioners of wetland and soil science are called on to estimate the percentage of soil organic C (SOC) to classify soil materials as mineral, mucky-modified mineral, or organic. The primary objective of this study was to determine how well field scientists were able to estimate SOC content and properly classify soil materials. Two parallel studies were conducted in the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions utilizing members of the regional hydric soil technical committees as research subjects. In each study, participants were provided an initial set of samples and asked to estimate the SOC percentage and to classify the soil materials. After they were provided the correct answers and given the opportunity to review and reexamine the first sample set, they were asked to estimate the SOC percentage and classify the soil materials on a second set of samples. Both groups of participants showed a significant improvement in classifying the second set of samples following training and, on average, were able to properly classify the samples approximately 70% of the time. © Soil Science Society of America.

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Soil Science Society of America Journal