, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 211-220

Estimation of soil losses by USLE model using GIS at Mashhad plain, Northeast of Iran

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Abstract

The Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) is an erosion estimation model to assess the soil losses that would generally result from splash, sheet, and rill erosion. At the present study, spatial distribution of different erosion prone areas were identified by USLE model to determine the average annual soil losses at Mashhad plain, northeast of Iran. Soil losses were estimated on a 100 × 100 m cell basis resolution by overlaying the five digital parameter layers (R, K, LS, C, P). To determine the critical soil loss regions at the plain, cell-based USLE parameters were multiplied by Arc-GIS ver.9.3. The estimated annual soil losses values were subsequently grouped into five classes ranging from 0 to 0.25 t/h/year around the trough line of the plain at Kashaf-rud River to 2–10 t/ha/year at the hills and pediment plains. Our results indicated a good correlation between land units of hills and pediment plains with the values of soil losses at the study area (R 2  = 0.72), also the statistical analysis exhibited a high correlation between land use/cover of dry farming and soil losses (R 2  = 0.78).