Modeling of Soil Loss and Identification of Erosion Hot Spot Areas Using RUSLE Integrated with GIS for Appropriate Conservation Practices in Muga Watershed, Highlands of Ethiopia

Girum Getachew Demeke


Over cultivation, deforestation and free grazing are major factors facilitating soil erosion. Nowadays; in lower parts of Muga watershed soil erosion become as a continuous environmental problem. In this study an attempt has been made to modeling soil loss and identify the most erosion sensitive areas by using Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation  integrated with GIS and remote sensing techniques for planning appropriate conservation measures in Muga watershed. The annual soil loss amount was estimated by using the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE). Digital Elevation Model, digital soil map, thirty years rainfall records of six stations, and land cover data (Landsat images) were used to develop RUSLE soil loss variables. The annual soil loss rate from the catchment were estimated by integrating RUSLE parameters using raster calculator tool. The annual soil loss rate varies between 0.02 ton/ha/yr and 41.789 ton/ha/yr. The total annual soil loss in the watershed was 59751.41 tones, of these, 12806.15 tons were lost from 371.19 km2, 26562.44 tons from 214.30 km2, 15300.94 tons from 50.52 km2, 4059.05 tons from 4.61 km2, and 1022.83 tons from 0.37 km2 of land per year. The rate of soil eroion was high in the lower part of the watershed. Slope gradient and length factor was the main factor for soil erosion increment followed by Support Practice (P) factor. As result of soil erosion cross tabulation;  steep slopes, Rendzic leptosols and dominantly cultivated areas were detected as very severe erosivity. Therefore, the lower parts of the study needs to undertake effective soil and water conservation practices.

Keywords: Soil loss, RUSLE, GIS, Remote sensing, Moga Watershed, Erosion hot spot areas

DOI: 10.7176/JEES/9-10-03

Publication date:October 31st 2019

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3216 ISSN (Online)2225-0948

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