Development of calibration algorithms for selected water content reflectometry probes for burned and non-burned organic soils of Alaska
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Laura L. Bourgeau-Chavez; Gordon C. Garwood; Kevin Riordan; Benjamin W. Koziol; James J. Slawski
Publication Year: 2010

Cataloging Information

  • aspen
  • black spruce
  • boreal forests
  • duff
  • ecosystem dynamics
  • feathermoss
  • fire injuries (plants)
  • fire management
  • fire-disturbed soils
  • forest management
  • Hylocomium
  • moisture
  • mosses
  • organic soils
  • Picea glauca
  • Picea mariana
  • Pleurozium
  • Populus spp.
  • Populus tremuloides
  • sampling
  • soil disturbance
  • soil management
  • soil moisture
  • soils
  • sphagnum
  • sphagnum moss
  • statistical analysis
  • TDR - time domain reflectometry
  • water
  • water content reflectometers
  • WCR - water content reflectometers
  • white spruce
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: October 27, 2019
FRAMES Record Number: 48869
Tall Timbers Record Number: 25102
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Journals - I
TTRS Abstract Status: Fair use, Okay, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


Water content reflectometry is a method used by many commercial manufacturers of affordable sensors to electronically estimate soil moisture content. Field-deployable and handheld water content reflectometry probes were used in a variety of organic soil-profile types in Alaska. These probes were calibrated using 65 organic soil samples harvested from these burned and unburned, primarily moss-dominated sites in the boreal forest. Probe output was compared with gravimetrically measured volumetric moisture content, to produce calibration algorithms for surface-down-inserted handheld probes in specific soil-profile types, as well as field-deployable horizontally inserted probes in specific organic soil horizons. General organic algorithms for each probe type were also developed. Calibrations are statistically compared to determine their suitability. The resulting calibrations showed good agreement with in situ validation and varied from the default mineral-soil-based calibrations by 20% or more. These results are of particular interest to researchers measuring soil moisture content with water content reflectometry probes in soils with high organic content.

Online Link(s):
Bourgeau-Chavez, Laura L.; Garwood, Gordon C.; Riordan, Kevin; Koziol, Benjamin W.; Slawski, James. 2010. Development of calibration algorithms for selected water content reflectometry probes for burned and non-burned organic soils of Alaska. International Journal of Wildland Fire 19(7):961-975.