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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 65 No. 3, p. 638-648
    Received: June 5, 2000

    * Corresponding author(s): wim.cornelis@rug.ac.be
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Evaluation of Pedotransfer Functions for Predicting the Soil Moisture Retention Curve

  1. Wim M. Cornelis *a,
  2. Jan Ronsynb,
  3. Marc Van Meirvennea and
  4. Roger Hartmanna
  1. a Ghent University, Dep. Soil Management and Soil Care, Coupure links 653, B-9000 Gent, Belgium
    b Belgian Nuclear Research Centre, Boeretang 200, B-2400 Mol, Belgium


The soil moisture retention curve (MRC) is time consuming and expensive to measure directly. Several attempts have been made to establish a relation between readily available soil properties, like particle-size distribution, organic matter content, and bulk density, and the soil moisture retention curve. Those relationships are referred to as pedotransfer functions (PTFs). The objective of this study was to evaluate some PTFs with respect to their accuracy in predicting the soil moisture retention curve. Five widely used and four more recently developed PTFs were selected for evaluation. Seven of the selected PTFs predict moisture retention function parameters, whereas the other two predict the moisture content at certain matric potentials. In order to quantify the prediction accuracy, the mean of the absolute value of mean differences (MAMD), the mean and the standard deviation of the root of mean squared differences (MRMSD and SDRMSD, respectively), and the mean of the Pearson correlation coefficient (Mr) were used. The evaluated PTFs were finally ranked based on these validation indices. The PTFs showed good to poor prediction accuracy with MAMD values ranging from 0.0312 to 0.0603 m3 m−3 and with MRMSDs between 0.0412 and 0.0774 m3 m−3 The SDRMSDs and Mrs ranged from 0.0212 to 0.0349 m3 m−3, and from 0.9468 to 0.9980, respectively. The validation indices computed by the PTF of Vereecken and coworkers gave the best results. Moreover, it predicts moisture retention function parameters, and therefore, this PTF is recommended most to predict the moisture retention curve from readily available soil properties.

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Copyright © 2001. Soil Science SocietyPublished in Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J.65:638–648.