The aim of this research is to study the efficiency of pedotransfer functions (PTFs) and artificial neural networks (ANNs) for cationic exchange capacity (CEC) prediction using readily available soil properties. Here, 417 soil samples were collected from the calcareous soils located in East-Azerbaijan province, northwest Iran and readily available soil properties, such as particle size distribution (PSD), organic matter (OM) and calcium carbonate equivalent (CCE), were measured. The entire 417 soil samples were divided into two groups, a training data set (83 soil samples) and test data set (334 soil samples). The performances of several published and derived PTFs and developed neural network algorithms using multilayer perceptron were compared, using a test data set. Results showed that, based on statistics of RMSE and R2, PTFs and ANNs had a similar performance, and there was no significant difference in the accuracy of the model results. The result of the sensitivity analysis showed that the ANN models were very sensitive to the clay variable (due to the high variability of the clay). Finally, the models tested in this study could account for 85% of the variations in cationic exchange capacity (CEC) of soils in the studied area. Abbreviations: ANN: artiﬁcial neural networks; MLP: multilayer perceptron; MLR: multiple linear regression; PTFs: Pedotransfer Functions; RBF: Radial Basis Function; MAE: mean absolute error; MSE: mean square error; CEC: cationic exchange capacity.
- Artificial neural networks
- Pedotransfer functions
- Readily available soil properties