Carrie Rose Levine gave a presentation on QUEST and sources of uncertainty in soils at the annual meeting of the Northeast Soil Monitoring Cooperative on March 13, 2012.
Uncertainty in soils is difficult to quantify due to the natural spatial and temporal variability of soils. Soil depth, rock content, bulk density, and nutrient concentration are all highly variable in soils. We may also expect high temporal variation of nutrient concentration and mass of the forest floor depending on changes in litterfall inputs over time.
Along with natural variation in soils, researchers have difficulty quantifying the uncertainty in soils as a result of what we call "knowledge uncertainty." In soils, knowledge uncertainty includes rejection criteria (obstructions), problems with excavation, representative subsampling, and uncertainty in analytical methods.
A link to the full presentation will be available shortly through the NESMC website: