Soil brightness works as a proxy for soil organic matter, sands, and salinity areas, and is becoming an increasingly important index for studying changes in soil conditions over time. This is particularly relevant in measuring and monitoring soil degradation and soil erosion patterns, which are both critical environmental concerns around the world. A major goal of precision agriculture is to foster and contribute to more sustainable agricultural land management, and remote sensing is becoming an increasingly valuable technology with the resolution of satellite images improving so rapidly over time (1). Soil degradation and erosion are global issues, but also impact the longevity of individual agricultural operations and local environments. The most productive tier of a soil system is the topsoil, and when it becomes eroded farmers often need to increase production costs to maintain the same yields. Once topsoil has disappeared from a given area of land, erosion continues to degrade the stripped soil in a positive feedback cycle that creates an uneven land surface afflicted with rills and gullies, making efficient crop cultivation even more challenging (2). The Soil Color index can be used in multi-layer analysis with other indices to monitor changes in soils, like erosion patterns, which in turn can tell us vital information about crop productivity.
Agronomists, growers and agribusinesses alike should appreciate how the information relayed by the SBI takes on the most value when it is used to inform decision-making about sustainable soil management and mitigate practices that may hinder it.
1. Marques, M. J., Alvarez, A., Carral, P., Sastre, B., & Bienes, R. (2020). The use of remote sensing to detect the consequences of erosion in gypsiferous soils. International Soil and Water Conservation Research, 8(4), 383-392.2. Seitz, S., Goebes, P., Puerta, V. L., Pereira, E. I. P., Wittwer, R., Six, J., ... & Scholten, T. (2019). Conservation tillage and organic farming reduce soil erosion. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 39(1), 1-10.2021-05-11 18:25 Blog