Soil sampling on surface mined spoils: Systematic vsThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
When sampling soils, there is a balance between complete and adequate description of the resource and the sampling effort. Any technique that can reduce the cost of sampling without reducing its descriptive value is worthwhile. This problem is especially relevant when dealing with surface mine spoil. Mining procedures result in spoils with greater heterogeneity than agricultural soil or naturally developed forest soils. Most soil sampling techniques have been developed with intensively managed annual crops in mind, and the ones that deal with surface mine lands allow a composite sample to represent from 5 to 20 acres (Evangelou and Barnhisel 1981). However, research plots are much smaller and verification of soil attributes requires greater precision. Three different sampling techniques (systematic, systematic-composite, and random) were used on translocated surface mine spoil in eastern Kentucky and evaluated for similarities in their ability to describe soil characteristics.