Land Use/Land Cover and Soil Type Covariation in a Heterogeneous Landscape for Soil Moisture Studies Using Point Data

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This research investigates the spatial covariation of soil and land use/land cover (LULC) at the Little River watershed to assess landscape heterogeneity and the spatial extent to which point data from the USDA hydrological network near Tifton, Georgia can be used for regional representations of environmental variables and to validate remote sensing data. Analyses were performed at the landscape scale and within square areas equivalent to four pixel units of environmental satellites commonly reported in soil moisture studies. The results showed a highly heterogeneous landscape with greater landscape fragmentation caused by LULC than by soil types, and even greater fragmentation when the two variables were considered together. We found a 23:1 ratio of soil types to LULC and few combinations of soil type/LULC dominating the landscape. We conclude that the stations are better suited for site-specific hydrologic studies and to validate high-spatial-resolution remote sensors.