Journal of Resources and Ecology ›› 2019, Vol. 10 ›› Issue (4): 441-450.DOI: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764X.2019.04.011

• Resource Management • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Sampling Size Requirements to Delineate Spatial Variability of Soil Properties for Site-Specific Nutrient Management in Rubber Tree Plantations

LIN Qinghuo1,2(), LI Hong3,4,*(), LI Baoguo2, LUO Wei1, LIN Zhaomu1, CHA Zhengzao1, GUO Pengtao1   

  1. 1. Rubber Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences, Haikou 571101, China
    2. Department of Soil and Water Sciences, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China
    3. Haikou Cigar Research Institute, China Tobacco Corporation Hainan Provincial Bureau, Haikou 571100, China
    4. Environment and Plant Protection Institute, Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences, Haikou 571101, China
  • Received:2018-11-07 Accepted:2019-01-30 Online:2019-07-30 Published:2019-07-30
  • Contact: LI Hong
  • About author:

    First author: LIN Qinghuo, E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    Foundation: National Key Research and Development Program of China (2018YFD0201100);Foundation for China Agriculture Research System (CARS-34);Fundamental Scientific Research Funds for Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences (1630022017007).


Site-specific nutrient management is an important strategy to promote sustainable production of rubber trees in order to obtain high yields of natural rubber. Making effective nutrient management decisions for rubber trees depend on knowing the spatial variations of soil fertility properties in advance. In this study the Kriging geostatistical method was used to examine the spatial variability of soil total nitrogen (TN), organic matter (OM), available phosphorus (AP) and available potassium (AK) in a typical hilly rubber tree plantation in Hainan, China. The spatial variability of the soils was small for the TN and OM and had medium variability for the AP and AK variables. Anisotropic semivariograms of all soil properties revealed that elevation and building contour ledge can profoundly affect the spatial variability of soil properties in the plantation, except for the AK variable. Soil samples had to be collected in alignment with the direction of elevation and perpendicular to the direction of building contour ledges, which was needed to obtain more reliable information within the study area in the rubber tree plantation. In formulating a sample scheme for AK, the distribution features of the soil’s parent material should be considered as the influence factor in the study field. The Kriging method used to guide the soil sampling for spatial variability dertermination of soil properties was about 2-5 times more efficient than the classic statistical method.

Key words: hevea brasiliensis, soil sampling size, spatial soil variability, anisotropic semivariogram, site-specific nutrient management.