Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 237–247 | Cite as

Managing soil erosion potential by integrating digital elevation models with the southern China’s revised universal soil loss equation

A case study for the West Lake Scenic Spots area of Hangzhou, China
  • Wang Weiwu Email author


In China, many scenic and tourism areas are suffering from the urbanization that results from physical development of tourism projects, leading to the removal of the vegetative cover, the creation of areas impermeable to water, in-stream modifications, and other problems. In this paper, the risk of soil erosion and its ecological risks in the West Lake Scenic Spots (WLSS) area were quantitatively evaluated by integrating the revised universal soil loss equation (RUSLE) with a digital elevation model (DEM) and geographical information system (GIS) software. The standard RUSLE factors were modified to account for local climatic and topographic characteristics reflected in the DEM maps, and for the soil types and vegetation cover types. An interface was created between the Arcinfo software and RUSLE so that the level of soil erosion and its ecological risk in the WLSS area could be mapped immediately once the model factors were defined for the area. The results from an analysis using the Arcinfo-RUSLE interface showed that the risk value in 93 % of the expanding western part of the WLSS area was moderate or more severe and the soil erosion risk in this area was thus large compared with that in the rest of the area. This paper mainly aimed to increase the awareness of the soil erosion risk in urbanizing areas and suggest that the local governments should consider the probable ecological risk resulting from soil erosion when enlarging and developing tourism areas.


West Lake Scenic Spots RUSLE model modification GIS digital elevation model ecological risk of soil erosion China 


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Copyright information

© Science Press 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of civil engineering and architecture, Zijinggang CampusZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina

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