Use of USLE/GIS technology integrated with geostatistics to assess soil erosion risk in different land uses of Indagi Mountain Pass-Cankiri, Turkey

Ozcan A. U. , Erpul G., Basaran M. , Erdogan H. E.

ENVIRONMENTAL GEOLOGY, vol.53, pp.1731-1741, 2008 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 53
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s00254-007-0779-6
  • Title of Journal : ENVIRONMENTAL GEOLOGY
  • Page Numbers: pp.1731-1741


The universal soil loss equation (USLE) is an erosion model to estimate average soil loss that would generally result from splash, sheet, and rill erosion from agricultural plots. Recently, use of USLE has been extended as a useful tool predicting soil losses and planning control practices by the effective integration of the GIS-based procedures to estimate the factor values on a grid cell basis. This study was performed for five different lands uses of Indagi Mountain Pass, Cankiri to predict the soil erosion risk by the USLE/GIS methodology for planning conservation measures in the site. Of the USLE factors, rainfall-runoff erosivity factor (USLE-R) and topographic factor (USLE-LS) were greatly involved in GIS. These were surfaced by correcting USLE-R site-specifically using DEM and climatic data and by evaluating USLE-LS by the flow accumulation tool using DEM and watershed delineation tool to consider the topographical and hydrological effects on the soil loss. The study assessed the soil erodibility factor (USLE-K) by randomly sampled field properties by geostatistical analysis. Crop management factor for different land-use/land cover type and land use (USLE-C) was assigned to the numerical values from crop and flora type, canopy and density of five different land uses, which are plantation, recreational land, cropland, forest and grassland, by means of reclassifying digital land use map available for the site. Support practice factor (USLE-P) was taken as a unit assuming no erosion control practices. USLE/GIS technology together with the geostatistics combined these major erosion factors to predict average soil loss per unit area per unit time. Resulting soil loss map revealed that spatial average soil loss in terms of the land uses were 1.99, 1.29, 1.21, 1.20, 0.89 t ha(-1) year(-1) for the cropland, grassland, recreation, plantation and forest, respectively. Since the rate of soil formation was expected to be so slow in Central Anatolia of Turkey and any soil loss of more than 1 ton ha(-1) year(-1) over 50-100 years was considered as irreversible for this region, soil erosion in the Indagi Mountain Pass, to the great extent, attained the irreversible state, and these findings should be very useful to take mitigation measures in the site.