Mapping of erosion susceptibility using a weighted linear combination model: A case study of a hill sub-watershed in Kodaikkanal, Western Ghats, South India

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Abstract

Assessment of the pre- and post-development impacts of a watershed predisposed to erosion is an important step in planning sustainable development strategies. Erosion susceptibility of a small mountain watershed, Palar in the Western Ghats, is assessed by employing a weighted linear combination (WLC) model combined with terrain attributes. The WLC model shows that relative relief, slope, curvature, and the normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI) significantly affect the susceptibility of the watershed to erosion, whereas the wetness index, stream power index, and drainage density have minimal effect. A comparison of the WLC model with the empirical revised universal soil loss equation (RUSLE) model shows that zones prone to severe erosion remain the same, whereas zones prone to moderate and low erosion are significantly different. In the WLC-based erosion susceptibility model, zones prone to moderate erosion dominate the spatial distribution, whereas in the RUSLE model the low-erosion category dominates. The results of our study can be applied to natural hazards management, land development impacts, land degradation, and spatial modelling where terrain features are influential.

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Sujatha, E. R., & Sridhar, V. (2019). Mapping of erosion susceptibility using a weighted linear combination model: A case study of a hill sub-watershed in Kodaikkanal, Western Ghats, South India. Remote Sensing Applications: Society and Environment, 14, 34–45. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rsase.2019.02.004

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