Soil erosion risk mapping using geographic information systems: A case study on Kocadere Creek Watershed, İzmir

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Civil Engineering, Turkey

Approval Date: 2005




Soil erosion is a major global environmental problem that is increasing year by year in Turkey. Preventing soil erosion requires political, economic and technical actions; before these actions we must learn properties and behaviors of our soil resources. The aims of this study are to estimate annual soil loss rates of a watershed with integrated models within GIS framework and to map the soil erosion risk for a complex terrain. In this study, annual soil loss rates are estimated using the Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) that has been used for five decades all over the world. The main problem in estimating the soil loss rate is determining suitable slope length parameters of USLE for complex terrains in grid based approaches. Different algorithms are evaluated for calculating slope length parameters of the study area namely Kocadere Creek Watershed, which can be considered as a complex terrain. Hickey̕s algorithm gives more reliable topographic factor values than Mitasova̕s and Moore̕s. Satellite image driven cover and management parameter (C) determination is performed by scaling NDVI values to approximate C values by using European Soil Bureau̕s formula. After the estimation of annual soil loss rates, watershed is mapped into three different erosion risk classes (low, moderate, high) by using two different classification approaches: boolean and fuzzy classifications. Fuzzy classifications are based on (I) only topographic factor and, (II) both topographic and C factors of USLE. By comparing three different classified risk maps, it is found that! in the study area topography dominates erosion process on bare soils and areas having sparse vegetation.