Estimating of water erosion in semiarid regions using RUSLE equation under GIS environment

Case of Wadi El-Ham watershed in Hodna region, Algeria

Abstract

Water erosion is one of the main forms of land degradation in Algeria, with a serious repercussion on agricultural productivity. The purpose of this study is to estimate the soil loss of Wadi El-Ham watershed in the center of Algeria, this study aims also to evaluate the effectiveness and reliability of the use of the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) under a Geographic Information System in this field. The RUSLE model involves the main factors of erosion phenomena, namely, rain aggressiveness, soil erodibility, topographic factor, land cover index and the anti-erosive practices factor. Using this approach, the specific erosion in Wadi El-Ham watershed is estimated as 5.7 (t/ha/yr) in the entire watershed area. This result is compared to the measured suspended sediment at the Rocade-Sud gauging station situated outlet the watershed. These data consist of 1293 instantaneous measures of the water discharge and the suspended sediment concentration recorded during 21 years. Through this comparison, the used approach of RUSLE under GIS estimates the soil loss in Wadi El-Ham in Hodna region of Algeria with an error of 7.5%. Consequently, the results obtained in cartographic format make it possible to target the areas requiring priority action for a larger scale analysis to find appropriate solutions to combat erosion and to protect the natural environment.

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Correspondence to Omar Djoukbala.

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Djoukbala, O., Mazour, M., Hasbaia, M. et al. Estimating of water erosion in semiarid regions using RUSLE equation under GIS environment. Environ Earth Sci 77, 345 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12665-018-7532-1

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Keywords

  • Soil erosion
  • RUSLE
  • GIS
  • Remote sensing
  • Algeria