Estimating surface soil losses in the mountainous semi-arid watershed using rusle and geospatial technologies
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CitationYavuz, M., & Tüfekçioğlu, M. (2019). Estimating surface soil losses in the mountainous semi-arid watershed using RUSLE and geospatial technologies. Fresenius Environmental Bulletin, 28(4), 2589-2598.
Integrating Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) model and geospatial technologies to estimate surface soil erosion losses has gained popularity among the researchers across the world. Yet, assessing the soil erosion risk for arid and semi-arid continental mountainous watersheds requires more challenges to cope with. The purpose of this study is to assess potential surface soil erosion risk areas for Uzundere sub-watershed in Erzurum, Turkey using RUSLE model and 50 cm pan-sharpened WorldView-2 imagery within GIS and remote sensing framework. The sub-factors of RUSLE were estimated using meteorological data for rainfall erosivity (R-factor), 5-m DEM for slope length and steepness (LS-factor), NDVI for land cover and crop management (C-factor), and soil samples collected in 35 sampling plots (20x20 m) for soil erodibility (K-factor). It was found that 25.38 tons of soil per hectare was washed away from the Uzundere sub watershed each year. It was also categorized that of the total study area 44.5% was under very low (0-5 t ha' yr'), 10.3% low (5-10), 13.6% moderate (1020), 17.2% high (20-50), and 14.5% very high (> 50) risk category. It can be concluded that despite the low average annual rainfall (585 mm yr1), a very steep topography and high slope length with a few vegetation cover were the main contributors of the high surface soil losses from the study area.