Plant and Soil

, Volume 390, Issue 1–2, pp 95–109 | Cite as

Assessment of multi-scale soil-plant interactions in a poplar plantation using geostatistical data fusion techniques: relationships to soil respiration

  • Chiara Ferré
  • Annamaria Castrignanò
  • Roberto Comolli
Regular Article


Background and aims

An adequate sampling strategy for the estimation of soil respiration depends on spatial heterogeneity in soil and plant characteristics. The objective of this work was the assessment of the spatial soil-plant interactions to define a sampling strategy of soil CO2 efflux.


In a long-term poplar plantation in Italy, a joint analysis of spatial variability of soil and plant properties was performed using geostatistical data fusion techniques. Soil samples were collected at 64 points and analyzed for pH, organic carbon, nitrogen, available phosphorous and texture. Trunk diameter was measured for 446 trees.


The analysis of the whole data set (soil and plant properties) revealed the presence of three main scales of variation: a nugget effect (micro-scale), 30 and 100 m.

Most spatial variation (71 %) was observed at the longer range scale; soil spatial variability was reflected in the differences in plant growth and affected soil CO2 emissions significantly.


The joint analysis of soil and plant properties allowed to model their spatial scale-dependent relationships. A map of a synthetic indicator of joint soil-plant variation can be used to choose the most representative plots for soil respiration monitoring.


Long-term poplar plantation Spatial variability Soil-plant relationship Geostatistics Data fusion Soil respiration 



We received substantial support from the owner and manager of the poplar site, Mr G. Cova-Minotti and Mr. F. Zanoli, and from the person responsible for the Ticino Park, Mr M. Furlanetto. We thank Mr. F. Biressi and Mr. M. Brambilla for help with field and laboratory work and Mr. F. Moia for laboratory assistance. Special thanks go to Mr. G. Seufert and Mr. A. Leip for the fruitful discussions and useful suggestions and to Mr. Gabriele Buttafuoco for careful reading and helpful comments.

Supplementary material

11104_2014_2368_Fig7_ESM.gif (197 kb)
Fig. S1

Soil properties: spatial distribution of the first regionalized factor (F1_soil) at a) short range (45 m) and b) long range (96 m) scale; colour scale uses isofrequency (GIF 196 kb)

11104_2014_2368_MOESM1_ESM.tif (152 kb)
High Resolution Image (TIFF 151 kb)
11104_2014_2368_MOESM2_ESM.doc (166 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 166 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chiara Ferré
    • 1
  • Annamaria Castrignanò
    • 2
  • Roberto Comolli
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Earth and Environmental SciencesMilano Bicocca UniversityMilanItaly
  2. 2.CRA-SCA Consiglio per la Ricerca e la Sperimentazione in Agricoltura - Unit for Cropping Systems in Dry EnvironmentsBariItaly

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