Natural Hazards

, Volume 83, Supplement 1, pp 65–81 | Cite as

Assessing water erosion in Mediterranean tree crops using GIS techniques and field measurements: the effect of climate change

  • Nektarios N. KourgialasEmail author
  • Georgios C. Koubouris
  • George P. Karatzas
  • Ioannis Metzidakis
Original Paper


In this work, a dynamic GIS modeling approach is presented that incorporates: a) geoinformatic techniques, b) 55-year historical meteorological data, and c) field measurements, in order to estimate soil erosion risk in intensively cultivated regions. The proposed GIS-based modeling approach includes the estimation of soil erosion rates due to surface water flow under current and future climate change scenarios A2 and B1 for the years 2030 and 2050. The soil erosion was estimated using the Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE). The proposed soil erosion model was validated using field measurements at different sites of the study area. The results show that an extended part of the study area is under intense erosion with the mean annual loss to be 4.85 t/ha year−1. Moreover, an increase in rainfall intensity, especially for scenario B1, can generate a significant increase (32.44 %) in soil loss for the year 2030 and a much more (50.77 %) for the year 2050 in comparison with the current conditions. Regarding the scenario A2, a slight decrease (1.85 %) in soil loss was observed for the year 2030, while for 2050 the results show an adequate increase (7.31 %) in comparison with the present. All these approaches were implemented at one of the most productive agricultural areas of Crete in Greece dominated by olive and citrus crops.


Agriculture GIS Soil erosion and climate change Crete 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nektarios N. Kourgialas
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Georgios C. Koubouris
    • 2
  • George P. Karatzas
    • 1
  • Ioannis Metzidakis
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Environmental EngineeringTechnical University of Crete, PolytechneioupolisChaniaGreece
  2. 2.Hellenic Agricultural Organization – DIMITRA, National Agricultural Research Foundation (N.AG.RE.F.)Institute for Olive Tree, Subtropical Crops and Viticulture, AgrokipioChaniaGreece

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