GIS-Assisted Modelling of Soil Erosion in a South African Catchment: Evaluating the USLE and SLEMSA Approach

  • D. G
  • Koomen E
  • S. Critchley W
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Abstract

The USLE and SLEMSA soil loss models were used to estimate soil loss rates in a quaternary catchment in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. The mean annual soil loss is estimated approximately at 4.11 t.ha-1.yr-1 by the USLE and 13.88 t.ha-1.yr-1 by SLEMSA. The SLEMSA rates greatly exceed the USLE rates on the unmanaged grassland, thicket and scrubland, and indigenous forest land use types, while on the cultivated land use types, the USLE mean annual rates provide higher estimates. Overlaying the USLE and SLEMSA erosion maps on the respective factor grids provided an insight into factors that played a significant role in eliciting the varying soil loss rates obtained. For the USLE, the crop management factor provided the most significant influence in determining high soil loss rates, whereas in SLEMSA the topographic factor was the predominant factor that influenced the erosion rates per land use type. Our analysis shows that SLEMSA is very sensitive to variations in slope steepness whereas the effects of crop and canopy cover within USLE are the strongest determinants of high erosion potential.

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D., G., Koomen, E., & S. Critchley, W. R. (2013). GIS-Assisted Modelling of Soil Erosion in a South African Catchment: Evaluating the USLE and SLEMSA Approach. In Water Resources Planning, Development and Management. InTech. https://doi.org/10.5772/52314

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