Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Crop, Soil & Environmental Sciences (MS)

Degree Level



Crop, Soil & Environmental Sciences


Kristofor R. Brye

Committee Member

Amanda J. Ashworth

Second Committee Member

Phillip R. Owens

Third Committee Member

Aurelie M. Poncet


electromagnetic induction, northwest Arkansas, proximal sensing, soil management zones, spatiotemporal variability, terrain attributes


Little to no work has been conducted assessing field variability using repeated electromagnetic induction (EMI) apparent electrical conductivity (ECa) surveys in agroforestry (AF) systems within regions similar to the Ozark Highlands. The objectives of this thesis were to identify i) spatiotemporal ECa variability; ii) ECa-derived soil management zones (SMZs); iii) correlations among EMI-ECa and in-situ, sentential-site soil properties; iv) whether fewer, EMI-ECa surveys could be conducted to capture similar ECa variance as mid-monthly EMI-ECa surveys; v) correlations between ECa and forage yield, tree growth, and terrain attributes based on plant (forage and tree) species, and fertility treatments, and ECa-derived SMZs, and vi); and terrain attributes that have the largest contribution to ECa variability at a 20-year-old, 4.25-ha, AF system in the Ozark Highlands of northwest Arkansas. Between August 2020 and July 2021, 12, mid-monthly ECa surveys were conducted and soil-sensor-based volumetric water content and ECa measurement were made and soil samples for gravimetric water content, EC, and pH were collected from various soil depths at fixed locations. Fourteen terrain attributes of the AF site were obtained. Tree diameter at breast height (DBH) and tree height (TH) measurements were made in December 2020 and March 2021, respectively, and total forage yield samples were collected seven times during Summer 2018 and 2019. The overall mean perpendicular geometry (PRP) and horizontal coplanar geometry (HCP) ECa ranged between 1.8 to 18.0 and 3.1 to 25.8 mS m-1, respectively, and the overall mean HCP ECa was 67% greater than the mean PRP ECa. Largest measured ECa occurred within the local drainage way, which has mapped inclusions with aquic soil moisture regimes, or areas of potential groundwater movement, and smallest measured ECa values occurred within areas with decreased effective soil depth and increased coarse fragments. A positive (r2 = 0.4; P < 0.05) linear relationship occurred over time between PRP ECa standard deviation, with a negative linear relationship (r2 = 0.93; P < 0.05) between HCP ECa coefficient of variation across season (i.e., Summer to Spring). The K-means-clustering method was used to delineate three precision SMZs that were reflective of areas with similar ECa and ECa variability. Relationships between ECa and tree properties were generally stronger within the whole-site, averaged across tree property and ECa configuration (| r | = 0.38), than the SMZs, averaged across tree property, ECa configuration, and SMZ (| r | = 0.27). The strength of the SMZs’ terrain-attribute-PRP-ECa relationships were 9 to 205% greater than that for the whole-site. Whole-site, multi-linear regressions showed that Slope Length and Steepness (LS)-Factor (10.5%), Mid-slope (9.4%), and Valley Depth (7.2%) were terrain attributes that had the greatest influence (i.e., largest percent of total sum of squares) on PRP ECa variability, whereas Valley Depth (15.3%), Wetness Index (11.9%), and Mid-slope (11.2%) had the greatest influence on HCP ECa variability. Results of this study show how ECa varies and relates to soil, plant (i.e., DBH and TH and forage yield), and terrain attributes in AF systems with varying topography that could be used to influence AF management.