Effect of land use land cover change on soil erosion potential in an agricultural watershed
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Universal soil loss equation (USLE) was used in conjunction with a geographic information system to determine the influence of land use and land cover change (LUCC) on soil erosion potential of a reservoir catchment during the period 1989 to 2004. Results showed that the mean soil erosion potential of the watershed was increased slightly from 12.11 t ha − 1 year − 1 in the year 1989 to 13.21 t ha − 1 year − 1 in the year 2004. Spatial analysis revealed that the disappearance of forest patches from relatively flat areas, increased in wasteland in steep slope, and intensification of cultivation practice in relatively more erosion-prone soil were the main factors contributing toward the increased soil erosion potential of the watershed during the study period. Results indicated that transition of other land use land cover (LUC) categories to cropland was the most detrimental to watershed in terms of soil loss while forest acted as the most effective barrier to soil loss. A p value of 0.5503 obtained for two-tailed paired t test between the mean erosion potential of microwatersheds in 1989 and 2004 also indicated towards a moderate change in soil erosion potential of the watershed over the studied period. This study revealed that the spatial location of LUC parcels with respect to terrain and associated soil properties should be an important consideration in soil erosion assessment process.
KeywordsLand use land cover change Soil erosion USLE GIS
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