Journal of
Ecology and The Natural Environment

  • Abbreviation: J. Ecol. Nat. Environ.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-9847
  • DOI: 10.5897/JENE
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 360

Full Length Research Paper

Visible near infra-red (VisNIR) spectroscopy for predicting soil organic carbon in Ethiopia

Abebe Shiferaw
  • Abebe Shiferaw
  • International Livestock Research Institute(ILRI), Addis Abeba, Ethiopia AND University of Bern, Hochschulstrasse 4, 3012 Bern, Switzerland.
  • Google Scholar
Christian Hergarten
  • Christian Hergarten
  • University of Bern, Hochschulstrasse 4, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
  • Google Scholar

  •  Accepted: 27 January 2014
  •  Published: 31 March 2014


Over the past few decades, the advantages of the visible-near infra-red (VisNIR) diffuse reflectance spectrometer (DRS) method have enabled prediction of soil organic carbon (SOC). In this study, SOC was predicted using regression models for samples taken from three sites (Gununo, Maybar and Anjeni) in Ethiopia. SOC was characterized in laboratory using conventional wet chemistry and VisNIR-DRS methods. Principal component analysis (PCA), principal component regression (PCR) and partial least square regression (PLS) models were developed using Unscrambler X 10.2. PCA results show that the first two components accounted for a minimum of 96% variation which increased for individual sites and with data treatments. Correlation (r), coefficient of determination (R2) and residual prediction deviation (RPD) were used to rate four models built. PLS model (r, R2, RPD) values for Anjeni were 0.9, 0.9 and 3.6; for Gununo values 0.6, 0.3 and 1.2; for Maybar values 0.6, 0.3 and 0.9, and for the three sites values 0.7, 0.6 and 1.5, respectively. PCR model values (r, R2, RPD) for Anjeni were 0.9, 0.8 and 2.7; for Gununo values 0.5, 0.3 and 1; for Maybar values 0.5, 0.1 and 0.7, and for the three sites values 0.7, 0.5 and 1.2, respectively. Comparison and testing of models shows superior performance of PLS to PCR. Models were rated as very poor (Maybar), poor (Gununo and three sites) and excellent (Anjeni). A robust model, Anjeni, is recommended for prediction of SOC in Ethiopia.

Key words: Prediction, soil organic carbon, visible near infra-red, spectrometer, Ethiopia.


SOC, Soil organic carbon; VisNIR, visible near infra-red; DRS, diffuse reflectance spectrometer; NIRS, near infra-red spectrometer; GUN, Gununo; ANJ, Anjeni; MAY, Maybar; 3 SITES, all sites.