Application of USLE, GIS, and Remote Sensing in the Assessment of Soil Erosion Rates in Southeastern Serbia
Ljubomir Životić1, Veljko Perović2, Darko Jaramaz2, Aleksandar Đorđević1, Rastko Petrović3, Mladen Todorović4
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1Faculty of Agriculture, University of Belgrade, Nemanjina 6, 11080 Zemun, Serbia
2Institute of Soil Science, Teodora Drajzera 7, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
3Faculty of Mining and Geology, University of Belgrade, Djusina 7, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
4CIHEAM – Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari, Via Ceglie 9, Valenzano (BA) 70010, Italy
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2012;21(6):1929–1935
The assessment of soil erosion rate and its spatial distribution in the hilly-mountainous Nisava River basin was conducted by Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) model through a GIS-based approach. A Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper (ETM+) image and normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) were used for the determination of crop management factor.
The average annual soil loss was estimated at 13.1 t·ha-1·yr-1, classifying the Nisava River basin under the high erosion rate category. About 44.1% of the watershed area was characterized by slight erosion rate (< 5 t·ha-1·yr-1), 15.5% of the area was found to be under moderate erosion rate (5-10 t·ha-1), 18.9% of the area was under high erosion rate (10-20 t·ha-1), while around 14.4% of the area was under a very high erosion rate (20-40 t·ha-1·yr-1). Severe erosion rates (40-80 t·ha-1·yr-1) were observed at 5.9% of the study area (168 km2), whereas very severe erosion rate (>80 t·ha-1·yr-1) described about 1.3% of the watershed (35.9 km2). The highest erosion was found on a sloppy terrain with agricultural activity. The results of this work are in agreement with previous studies conducted in the watershed, which indicates the presented methodology could be applied with eventual further improvements for the evaluation of erosion factors on soil resources in Serbia when limited data are available.