Author(s): Wekulo Saidi Fwamba, Prof. Samuel S. China, Dr. Edward N. Masibayi
Published in: International Journal of Engineering Research & Technology
License: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Volume/Issue: Volume. 6 - Issue. 07 , July - 2017
An assessment of potential soil erosion risk is essential in soil conservation and environmental management. Potential soil erosion risk is the benchmark from which land use/land cover management and soil erosion control support practices are based on control of soil loss and thus affects agricultural production. Potential soil erosion risk is based on environmental factors which include: rainfall erosivity, soil erodibility, slope length and slope steepness. Isiukhu river catchment and its environs have experienced fatal landslides leading to loss of lives and property. The spatial variation of rainfall erosivity (R) factor, soil erodibility (K) factor, slope length and slope steepness (LS) factor were determined in ArcGIS 10.3 environment. The spatial distribution of potential soil erosion risk was determined by applying revised universal soil loss equation (RUSLE) model in ArcGIS 10.3. The spatial variation of soil erosion risk showed that 0-12 t ha-1 y-1 covered an area of 5,000ha (7.3%), 13-25 t ha-1 y-1 covered an area of 12,000ha (17.6%), 26-69 t ha-1 y-1 covered an area of 19,882ha (29.1%), 70-106 t ha-1 y-1 covered an area of 19,807ha (29%), 107-125 t ha-1 y-1 covered an area of 10,245ha (15%) and 126-128 t ha-1 y-1 covered an area of 1,366ha (2%). From these results, only 7.3% of the catchment is within soil loss tolerance limit (12tha-1y-1). This could be due to degradation of natural cover within the catchment. Deforestation as a result of farming activities and settlement in the catchment forest could have led to exposure of ground to surface run-off. The high rate of soil erosion could be reduced by controlling encroachment on the forest, proper land use/land cover through multiple-cropping
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