GIS-based time series study of soil erosion risk using the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) model in a micro-catchment on Mount Elgon, Uganda

University essay from Lunds universitet/Institutionen för naturgeografi och ekosystemvetenskap

Abstract: Land degradation has already been treated as one of the most serious problem all around the world. This study is a GIS-based time series study which devotes to calculate annual soil loss value, seek for soil erosion trends linked with precipitation and land use in Manafwa micro-catchment, Mount Elgon region, Uganda. Two different versions of Revised Universal Soil loss Equation (RUSLE) are implemented and compared, one using flow length and the other using flow accumulation to estimate the slope length and steepness (LS) factor. The modeling is carried out for the years 2000, 2006, and 2012, and is based on ASTER remotely sensed data, digital elevation models, precipitation data from the study area, as well as existing soil maps. After running RUSLE model and analyzing the result maps, no significant soil erosion trends or patterns are found, as well as significant trends in precipitation and land cover changes during last decade. Over exploitation of land is probably compensated by improved agricultural management and no significant increase in precipitation. Even if there are reports of more intense and increasing amounts of rainfall in the area, this could not be verified, neither through analysis of climate data, nor by trends in estimated soil loss.

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