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Soil Erosion Mapping and Hotspot Area Identification Using GIS and Remote Sensing in Northwest Ethiopian Highlands, Near Lake Tana

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Abstract

Soil erosion is a critical problem in Ethiopia. The rate of soil erosion at the Debre Mewi Watershed in the upper Blue Nile River basin has occurred at an alarming rate. Estimating soil erosion, identifying erosion hotspot areas and setting priorities are needed by agencies involved in development works of the watershed to plan and implement soil and water conservation measures. Therefore, this research has been carried out to assess soil erosion, identify erosion hotspots and to set priority for conservation measures. The study integrated remote sensing with a Geographic Information System (GIS). Soil, land use/land cover, topography, and climatic data were used to generate the RUSLE factor values. Soil erosion was calculated through overlay analysis, which ranged from 0.0046 to 192 tons/ha/year. About 68% of the watershed experiences from very low to moderate erosion rates, 31% experiences from high to extreme erosion rates and 1% experiences exceptional erosion rates that is greater than 100 tons/ha/year. The results were compared with conventionally collected plot level soil loss data and good agreement was found. Agricultural areas (crop lands) have very high soil erosion followed by grazing lands and bush lands. However, the soil loss is low in eucalyptus plantations and built up areas.

Keywords

  • Soil erosion assessment
  • Erosion hotspot
  • Watershed
  • RUSLE
  • GIS
  • Debre Mewi watershed

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Correspondence to Mulatie Mekonnen .

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Mekonnen, M., Melesse, A.M. (2011). Soil Erosion Mapping and Hotspot Area Identification Using GIS and Remote Sensing in Northwest Ethiopian Highlands, Near Lake Tana. In: Melesse, A.M. (eds) Nile River Basin. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-0689-7_10

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