Remote Sensing, Vol. 16, Pages 1871: Synergistic Use of Multi-Temporal Radar and Optical Remote Sensing for Soil Organic Carbon Prediction

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Remote Sensing, Vol. 16, Pages 1871: Synergistic Use of Multi-Temporal Radar and Optical Remote Sensing for Soil Organic Carbon Prediction

Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs16111871

Authors: Sara Dahhani Mohamed Raji Yassine Bouslihim

Exploring soil organic carbon (SOC) mapping is crucial for addressing critical challenges in environmental sustainability and food security. This study evaluates the suitability of the synergistic use of multi-temporal and high-resolution radar and optical remote sensing data for SOC prediction in the Kaffrine region of Senegal, covering over 1.1 million hectares. For this purpose, various scenarios were developed: Scenario 1 (Sentinel-1 data), Scenario 2 (Sentinel-2 data), Scenario 3 (Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 combination), Scenario 4 (topographic features), and Scenario 5 (Sentinel-1 and -2 with topographic features). The findings from comparing three different algorithms (Random Forest (RF), XGBoost, and Support Vector Regression (SVR)) with 671 soil samples for training and 281 samples for model evaluation highlight that RF outperformed the other models across different scenarios. Moreover, using Sentinel-2 data alone yielded better results than using only Sentinel-1 data. However, combining Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 data (Scenario 3) further improved the performance by 6% to 11%. Including topographic features (Scenario 5) achieved the highest accuracy, reaching an R2 of 0.7, an RMSE of 0.012%, and an RPIQ of 5.754 for the RF model. Applying the RF and XGBoost models under Scenario 5 for SOC mapping showed that both models tended to predict low SOC values across the study area, which is consistent with the predominantly low SOC content observed in most of the training data. This limitation constrains the ability of ML models to capture the full range of SOC variability, particularly for less frequent, slightly higher SOC values.

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