Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 66, Issue 3, pp 903–913 | Cite as

Estimation of soil erosion using RUSLE in a GIS framework: a case study in the Buyukcekmece Lake watershed, northwest Turkey

  • Ali Demirci
  • Ahmet Karaburun
Original Article


This study was aimed at predicting soil erosion risk in the Buyukcekmece Lake watershed located in the western part of Istanbul, Turkey, by using Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) model in a GIS framework. The factors used in RUSLE were computed by using different data obtained or produced from meteorological station, soil surveys, topographic maps, and satellite images. The RUSLE factors were represented by raster layers in a GIS environment and then multiplied together to estimate the soil erosion rate in the study area using spatial analyst tool of ArcGIS 9.3. In the study, soil loss rate below 1 t/ha/year was defined as low erosion, while those >10 t/ha/year were defined as severe erosion. The values between low and severe erosion were further classified as slight, moderate, and high erosion areas. The study provided a reliable prediction of soil erosion rates and delineation of erosion-prone areas within the watershed. As the study revealed, soil erosion risk is low in more than half of the study area (54%) with soil loss <1 t/ha/year. Around one-fifth of the study area (19%) has slight erosion risk with values between 1 and 3 t/ha/year. Only 11% of the study area was found to be under high erosion risk with soil loss between 5 and 10 t/ha/year. The severe erosion risk is seen only in 5% of the study area with soil loss more than 10 t/ha/year. As the study revealed, nearly half of the Buyukcekmece Lake watershed requires implementation of effective soil conservation measures to reduce soil erosion risk.


RUSLE Soil erosion GIS Buyukcekmece 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyFatih UniversityBuyukcekmeceTurkey

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