Assessment of Soil Erosion within the Gayathripuzha River Basin Using RUSLE Model and GIS Tools

E.B. Gilsha Bai *

Department of Agricultural Engineering, College of Agriculture, Kerala Agricultural University, Vellanikkara, Thrissur, PIN-680656, India.

Ardra Raju

Department of Agricultural Engineering, College of Agriculture, Kerala Agricultural University, Vellanikkara, Thrissur, PIN-680656, India.

K.P. Rema

Department of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering, KCAET Tavanur, Malappuram-679573, Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur, India.

K V Sumiya

Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Pattambi, Palakkad, PIN 679306 Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur, India.

Anu Varughese

Department of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering, KCAET Tavanur, Malappuram-679573, Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur, India.

J Resmi

Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Pattambi, Palakkad, PIN 679306 Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur, India.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Abstract

Soil erosion, a natural phenomenon accelerated by human activities, became a major problem for agricultural land use and for water quality concerns. Soil erosion by water is influenced by various factors like climate, nature of land surface, slope steepness, soil properties, land cover, and management practices.  Estimation of soil erosion is essential to know the nature and quantity of soil loss and create specific strategies for soil conservation. This research paper thoroughly examines the susceptibility of soil erosion in the Gayathripuzha river basin in Kerala, India, which is encompassing a wide area of around 961 km².  Employing the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE), this investigation assesses the influential factors affecting soil erosion, which comprise rainfall (R Factor), soil erodibility (K Factor), topography (LS Factor), land usage (C Factor), and the impact of conservation measures (P Factor).  The study was conducted using Geographic Information System (GIS) tools like ArcGIS 10.8 Desktop and integrating data on rainfall, soil properties, land topographic features, and land use.  Rainfall erosivity is a major factor causing erosion in Gayathripuzha river basin and it ranges from 746.03 to 1222.35 MJ mm ha−1 h−1 y−1 in the river basin. Soil erodibility factor also varies widely within the region.  Slope length and steepness factor showed that highland ecosystems are present only in a small area of the river basin.  Variation in land use and land cover also influenced the soil erosion within the area. The estimated average annual soil erosion ranges from 0 to 133.18 t ha-1 yr-1 within the research site. The research found that soil erosion varied greatly across the study area. Regions with slopes over 50% had much higher erosion rates, while most of the study area had low erosion levels. Notably, the intensity of soil erosion demonstrated a positive correlation with slope percentage, with areas classified as bare ground demonstrating the highest erosion rates. These findings emphasize the necessity for targeted and comprehensive conservation strategies tailored to the diverse landscape of the region to effectively manage soil erosion and mitigate its adverse impacts.

Keywords: ArcGIS, GIS, K factor, RUSLE, R factor, soil, soil erosion


How to Cite

Bai, E.B. Gilsha, Ardra Raju, K.P. Rema, K V Sumiya, Anu Varughese, and J Resmi. 2024. “Assessment of Soil Erosion Within the Gayathripuzha River Basin Using RUSLE Model and GIS Tools”. International Journal of Environment and Climate Change 14 (4):780-94. https://doi.org/10.9734/ijecc/2024/v14i44158.

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