Soil erosion estimation using RUSLE and GIS techniques—a study of a plateau fringe region of tropical environment

Abstract

This paper tries to understand the soil erosion characteristics in a tropical plateau fringe region by the use of Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE). Soil loss estimation is an important phenomenon to understand the land degradation. An integrated method needs to be adopted in tropical plateau fringe region to estimate the soil loss. RUSLE has been adopted for the present study. The river in the basin under consideration sees its origin from a plateau top region and flows through the plateau fringe region of eastern Chotanagpur plateau, India. The present study area reflects undulated plateau fringe landform with gently sloping dissected plateau topography. The different factors like, rainfall erosivity factor (R), soil erodibility factor (K), topographic factor (LS), crop and management factor (C), and support and practice factor (P) have been enumerated using field and remote sensing data. Each factors result has also been verified with previous literature. All factors have been multiplied in GIS environment to estimate soil loss. High-magnitude soil loss region (> 10 t ha−1 year−1) covers 4.88% of the total area and extends up to the upper reaches of the watershed. Topographic and soil factors best represent this loss. Low-magnitude soil loss region (< 2.5 t ha−1 year−1) in the lower reaches of the watershed is a result of successful land management activity. Soil erosion is dominated process of land degradation in the upper reaches of the watershed and estimation of soil loss is an important input for land-use land-cover management. The study also inferred that RUSLE soil erosion model could be effectively used in tropical plateau fringe environment.

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Mahala, A. Soil erosion estimation using RUSLE and GIS techniques—a study of a plateau fringe region of tropical environment. Arab J Geosci 11, 335 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12517-018-3703-3

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Keywords

  • Tropical plateau fringe
  • RUSLE
  • Soil loss estimation
  • Land degradation
  • Chotanagpur plateau
  • Plateau topography
  • Land-use land-cover management