Non-homogeneity of variance components from spatially nested sampling of the soil

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Lark, R. M. and Corstanje, R. 2009. Non-homogeneity of variance components from spatially nested sampling of the soil. European Journal of Soil Science. 60 (3), pp. 443-452.

AuthorsLark, R. M. and Corstanje, R.

Spatially nested sampling and the associated nested analysis of variance by spatial scale is a well-established methodology for the exploratory investigation of soil variation over multiple, disparate scales. The variance components that can be estimated this way can be accumulated to approximate the variogram. This allows us to identify the important scales of variation, and the general form of the spatial dependence, in order to plan more detailed sampling by design-based or model-based methods. Implicit in the standard analyses of nested sample data is the assumption of homogeneity in the variance, i.e. that all variations from sub-station means at some scale represent a random variable of uniform variance. If this assumption fails then the comparable assumption of stationarity in the variance, which is an important assumption in geostatistics, will also be implausible. However, data from nested sampling may be analysed with a linear mixed model in which the variance components are parameters which can be estimated by residual maximum likelihood (REML). Within this framework it is possible to propose an alternative variance parameterization in which the variance depends on some auxiliary variable, and so is not generally homogeneous. In this paper we demonstrate this approach, using data from nested sampling of chemical and biogeochemical soil properties across a region in central England, and use land use as our auxiliary variable to model non-homogeneous variance components. We show how the REML analysis allows us to make inferences about the need for a non-homogeneous model. Variances of soil pH and cation exchange capacity at different scales differ between these land uses, but a homogeneous variance model is preferable to such non-homogeneous models for the variance of soil urease activity at standard concentrations of urea.

KeywordsSoil Science
Year of Publication2009
JournalEuropean Journal of Soil Science
Journal citation60 (3), pp. 443-452
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Open accessPublished as non-open access
Copyright licensePublisher copyright

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