How serious a problem is subsoil compaction in the Netherlands? A survey based on probability sampling

Dick J. Brus*, Jan J.H. Van Den Akker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Although soil compaction is widely recognized as a soil threat to soil resources, reliable estimates of the acreage of overcompacted soil and of the level of soil compaction parameters are not available. In the Netherlands data on subsoil compaction were collected at 128 locations selected by stratified random sampling. A map showing the risk of subsoil compaction in five classes was used for stratification. Measurements of bulk density, porosity, clay content and organic matter content were used to compute the relative bulk density and relative porosity, both expressed as a fraction of a threshold value. A subsoil was classified as overcompacted if either the relative bulk density exceeded 1 or the relative porosity was below 1. The sample data were used to estimate the means of the two subsoil compaction parameters and the overcompacted areal fraction. The estimated global means of relative bulk density and relative porosity were 0.946 and 1.090, respectively. The estimated areal fraction of the Netherlands with overcompacted subsoils was 43 %. The estimates per risk map unit showed two groups of map units: A "low-risk " group (units 1 and 2, covering only 4.6%of the total area) and a "high-risk" group (units 3, 4 and 5). The estimated areal fraction of overcompacted subsoil was 0% in the lowrisk unit and 47% in the high-risk unit. The map contains no information about where overcompacted subsoils occur. This was caused by the poor association of the risk map units 3, 4 and 5 with the subsoil compaction parameters and subsoil overcompaction. This can be explained by the lack of time for recuperation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-45
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2018

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