Environmental Management

, Volume 62, Issue 2, pp 383–402 | Cite as

The Significance of Land Cover Delineation on Soil Erosion Assessment

  • Nikolaos Efthimiou
  • Emmanouil Psomiadis


The study aims to evaluate the significance of land cover delineation on soil erosion assessment. To that end, RUSLE (Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation) was implemented at the Upper Acheloos River catchment, Western Central Greece, annually and multi-annually for the period 1965–92. The model estimates soil erosion as the linear product of six factors (R, K, LS, C, and P) considering the catchment’s climatic, pedological, topographic, land cover, and anthropogenic characteristics, respectively. The C factor was estimated using six alternative land use delineations of different resolution, namely the CORINE Land Cover (CLC) project (2000, 2012 versions) (1:100,000), a land use map conducted by the Greek National Agricultural Research Foundation (NAGREF) (1:20,000), a land use map conducted by the Greek Payment and Control Agency for Guidance and Guarantee Community Aid (PCAGGCA) (1:5,000), and the Landsat 8 16-day Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) dataset (30 m/pixel) (two approximations) based on remote sensing data (satellite image acquired on 07/09/2016) (1:40,000). Since all other factors remain unchanged per each RUSLE application, the differences among the yielded results are attributed to the C factor (thus the land cover pattern) variations. Validation was made considering the convergence between simulated (modeled) and observed sediment yield. The latter was estimated based on field measurements conducted by the Greek PPC (Public Power Corporation). The model performed best at both time scales using the Landsat 8 (Eq. 13) dataset, characterized by a detailed resolution and a satisfactory categorization, allowing the identification of the most susceptible to erosion areas.


Erosion RUSLE Acheloos River C factor Land cover NDVI 



The authors wish to thank the EU and Greek NAGREF for the provision of the soil samples data, the Greek NAGREF and Greek PCAGGCA for the provision of the land cover datasets, the Greek PPC and Greek MEECC for the provision of the precipitation data, the Greek PPC for the provision of the discharge, sediment discharge, and discharge–sediment discharge pairs measurements. The LUCAS topsoil, Erosivity Density, LS-factor, and P-factor datasets used in this work were made available by the European Commission through the European Soil Data Centre managed by the Joint Research Centre (JRC),

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Natural Resources Management and Agricultural Engineering, Laboratory of Agricultural HydraulicsAgricultural University of AthensAthensGreece
  2. 2.Department of Geological Sciences and Atmospheric Environment, Laboratory of Mineralogy and GeologyAgricultural University of AthensAthensGreece

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