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Abstract

Accelerated soil erosion is a worldwide problem because of its economic and environmental impacts. Enfraz watershed is one of the most erosion-prone watersheds in the highlands of Ethiopia, which received little attention. This study was, therefore, carried out to spatially predict the soil loss rate of the watershed with a Geographic Information System (GIS) and Remote Sensing (RS). Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) adapted to Ethiopian conditions was used to estimate potential soil losses by utilizing information on rainfall erosivity (R) using interpolation of rainfall data, soil erodibility (K) using soil map, vegetation cover (C) using satellite images, topography (LS) using Digital Elevation Model (DEM) and conservation practices (P ) using satellite images. Based on the analysis, about 92.31% (5914.34 ha) of the watershed was categorized none to slight class which under soil loss tolerance (SLT) values ranging from 5 to 11 tons ha-1 year-1 . The remaining 7.68% (492.21 ha) of land was classified under moderate to high class about several times the maximum tolerable soil loss. The total and an average amount of soil loss estimated by RUSLE from the watershed was 30,836.41 ton year-1 and 4.81 tons ha-1year-1 , respectively.

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