Spatial estimation of soil erosion in Iran using RUSLE model

Document Type : Research Article


1 PhD student Department of Remote Sensing, Faculty of Earth Sciences, Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz

2 Range and watershed management, natural resources, Isfahan university Technology,Isfahan, Iran

3 Rangeland and Watershed Group, college natural resources ,Isfahan university technology.Iran


Soil erosion is one of the most important issues that human is facing now. The purpose of this research is to estimate the soil erosion in Iran using the RUSLE model and use of geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing data (RS). In the present study, after collecting and gathering various information including the digital elevation model (DEM) layers, Statistics on weather stations and rain gauges, satellite images and soil characteristics were used as research tools and Soil erosion was estimated using the RUSLE model. The average annual values of P, K, C, LS and R factors are 0.65, 0.04 (t h MJ-1 mm-1), 0.46, 3.6 and 195 (MJ mm ha-1 y-1 h- 1), respectively. The results of this study showed that the average annual soil erosion in Iran is about 24 tons per hectare per year. Also, the results of the study showed that about 4 billion tons from soil the country eroded and partial entered the system of water in the stream and the sea which reduces the quality, water pollution, reduces of soil fertility and reduces the amount of cultivated land and ultimately leads to soil degradation.


Main Subjects

[1]. Schwab GO, Fangmeier DD, Elliot WJ, Frevert RK, Leonard RA. Soil and water conservation engineering. Journal of Environmental Quality. 1994; 23(2):390.
[2]. Naderi F, Karimi H, Naseri B. Soil erosion potential zoning in Aseman Abad watershed by erosion index. Journal of Watershed Management Researches. 2010; 89: 44-51 (In Persian).
[3]. Erfanian M, Ghaharahmani P, Saadat H. Assessment of soil erosion risk using a fuzzy model in Gharnaveh watershed. Journal of Water and soil Conservation. 2015; 6(21): 135-154(In Persian).
[4]. Nigel R, Rughooputh SD. Soil erosion risk mapping with new datasets: An improved identification and prioritisation of high erosion risk areas. Catena. 2010; 82(3):191-205.
[5]. Dabral PP, Baithuri N, Pandey A. Soil erosion assessment in a hilly catchment of north eastern India using USLE, GIS and remote sensing. Water Resources Management. 2008; 22(12):1783-98.
[6]. Kinnell PI. AGNPS-UM: applying the USLE-M within the agricultural non-point source pollution model. Environmental Modelling & Software. 2000; 15(3):331-41.
[7]. Renard KG, Foster GR, Weesies GA, Porter JP. RUSLE: Revised universal soil loss equation. Journal of soil and Water Conservation. 1991; 46(1):30-3.
[8]. Wang G, Gertner G, Fang S, Anderson AB. Mapping multiple variables for predicting soil loss by geostatistical methods with TM images and a slope map. Photogrammetric Engineering & Remote Sensing. 2003; 69(8):889-98.
[9]. Shi ZH, Cai CF, Ding SW, Wang TW, Chow TL. Soil conservation planning at the small watershed level using RUSLE with GIS: a case study in the Three Gorge area of China. Catena. 2004; 55(1):33-48.
[10].            Lu D, Li G, Valladares GS, Batistella M. Mapping soil erosion risk in Rondonia, Brazilian Amazonia: using RUSLE, remote sensing and GIS. Land Degradation & Development. 2004; 15(5):499-512.
[11].            Teng H, Rossel RA, Shi Z, Behrens T, Chappell A, Bui E. Assimilating satellite imagery and visible–near infrared spectroscopy to model and map soil loss by water erosion in Australia. Environmental Modelling & Software. 2016; 77:156-67.
[12].            Le Roux JJ, Morgenthal TL, Malherbe J, Pretorius DJ, Sumner PD. Water erosion prediction at a national scale for South Africa. Water SA. 2008; 34(3):305-14.
[13].            Panagos P, Borrelli P, Poesen J, Ballabio C, Lugato E, Meusburger K, Montanarella L, Alewell C. The new assessment of soil loss by water erosion in Europe. Environmental Science & Policy. 2015; 54:438-47.
[14].            Al-abadi A.M, Ghalib HB, Al-qurnawi Ws. Estimation of soil erosion in northern Kirkuk governorate, Iraq using RUSLE, remote sensing and GIS. Carpathian Journal of Earth and Environmental Sciences. 2016; 11(1):153-66.
[15].            Asadi H, Honarmand M, Vazifedoust M, Moussavi A. Assessment of changes in soil erosion risk using RUSLE in Navrood watershed, Iran. Journal of Agricultural Science and Technology. 2017; 19(1):231-44.
[16].            Jafarian Z,Beshtar B, Kavian A. Simulation effects of improvement and restoration operations of rangeland on soil loss using RUSLE model. Physical Geography Research Quarterly. 2017; 49:55-69. (Persian)
[17].            Mousavinejad SH, Habashi H, Kiani F, Shataee SH, Abdi O. Evaluation of soil erosion using imagery SPOT5 satellite in Chehel chi catchment of Golestan Province. Journal of Wood & Forest Science and Technology, 2017; 24 (2): 73-86.
[18].            Meghraoui M, Habi M, Morsli B, Regagba M, Seladji A. Mapping of soil erodibility and assessment of soil losses using the RUSLE model in the Sebaa Chioukh Mountains (northwest of Algeria). Journal of Water and Land Development. 2017; 34(1):205-213.
[19].            Gaubi I, Chaabani A, Mammou AB, Hamza M. A GIS-based soil erosion prediction using RUSLE model (Lebna watershed, Cap Bon, Tunisia). Natural Hazards. 2017; 86(1):219-239
[20].            Zare M, Samani AN, Mohammady M, Salmani H, Bazrafshan J. Investigating effects of land use change scenarios on soil erosion using CLUE-s and RUSLE models. International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology. 2017; 14(9):1905-18.
[21].            Nwaogu C, Okeke OJ, Adu SA, Babine E, Pechanec V, editors. Land use land cover change and soil-gully erosion relationships: A study of Nanka, South-Eastern Nigeria using geoinformatics. Proceedings of GIS Ostrava; 2017: Springer.
[22].            Zabihi M, Mirchooli F, Motevalli A, Darvishan AK, Pourghasemi HR, Zakeri MA, et al. Spatial modelling of gully erosion in Mazandaran Province, northern Iran. Catena. 2018; 161:1-13.
[23].            Khajavi E, ArabKhedri M, Mahdian M.H and Shadfar S. Investigation of water erosion and soil loss values with using the measured Data from Cs-137 method and experimental plots in Iran. Journal of watershed Management Research. 2015; 6(11):137-51.
[24].            Khaledian H. The survey of sediment and erosion with EPM model and Cs-137 and sediment data. MSc Thesis in Natural Resource. Tehran University. 1995, 159 pp. (In Persian)
[25].            Mahmoodi M. Feasibility study on generalization of the results of Cs-137 method for estimating surface erosion for homogenous region. MSc Thesis in Soil Science. Tarbiat Modarres University. 1996, 195 pp (In Persian).
[26].            Mesbah S.H. The study of erosion and sediment of Bardekal watershed with using EPM and Cs-137 method. M.Sc. Thesis in Natural Resource, Tehran University. 1996, 176 pp. (In Persian).
[27].            Shahoee S. The study of different landscapes of land degradation and the estimation its roll in change soil properties, decrease of productivity power and how to use of hill slope in Gorganrood watershed. PhD Thesis in Soil Science, Tehran University. 1996, 312 pp. (In Persian)
[28].            Yousofkalafi S. Measurement of surface erosion with Cs-137. MSc Thesis in Natural Resources, Tarbiat Modarres University. 1994, 211 pp. (In Persian).
[29].            Honarjoo N, Mahmoodi Sh, Charkhabi A.H, Ghafoorian H, AliMohammadi, A. The use of Cs-137 for measuring erosion and sediment in Gorgak watershed. Journal of Nuclear Science and Technology. 2005, 34: 39-45. (In Persian).
[30].            Jafari Ardakani A, Partovi A, Peyrovan H R, Ghoddosi J. Effect of gypsum in different slopes on discharge and unstable soil erosion. Soil conservation and watershed management institute; 2003, 48 pp. (In Persian).
[31].            Nabaei MG, Ghodoosi J. Assessment of badlands stabilization methods in SefidRood watershed. Soil conservation and watershed management institute. 1997, 41 pp. (In Persian)
[32].            Agharazi, H, Ghodoosi J, Poormatin A. 2003. Measured erosion and runoff on standard plots for evaluating universal soil loss equation. Soil Conservation and Watershed Management Institute, 102 pp. (In Persian).
[33].            Nikkami D, Jafari Ardakani A, Bayat Movahed F, Razmjoo P. The Effects of Plough on Soil Erosion and Determining Land Slope Threshold for Dry Farming. Soil Conservation and Watershed Management Institute. 2005,49 pp. (In Persian)
[34].            Kheyrodin H. Modeling soil erosion in Iran. Innovat International Journal of Medical & Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2016; 1(1):1-12.
[35].            Sadeghi SHR. Soil erosion in Iran: state of the art, tendency and solutions. Transcultural Studies. 2017; 63(3).
[36].            Maerker M, Sommer C, Zakerinejad R, Cama E. An integrated assessment of soil erosion dynamics with special emphasis on gully erosion: Case studies from South Africa and Iran. EGU General Assembly Conference Abstracts; 2017.
[37].            Zakerinejad R, Maerker M. An integrated assessment of soil erosion dynamics with special emphasis on gully erosion in the Mazayjan basin, southwestern Iran. Natural Hazards. 2015; 79(1):25-50.
[38].            Refahi H. Water erosion and Conservation, 5nd ed. Tehran: Tehran University Press, 1385 (In Persian).
[39].            Singh VP, Frevert DK. Watershed modeling. World Water & Environmental Resources Congress; 2003.
[40].            Emadodin I, Narita D, Bork HR. Soil degradation and agricultural sustainability: an overview from Iran. Environment, development and sustainability. 2012; 14(5):611-25.
[41].            Eskandarie, B. Country report on history and status of soil survey in Iran. In: GSP regional workshop, Jordan, Amman 1-5 April 2012, 25p.
[42].            Sadeghi H.R, A Cerdà. Soil erosion in Iran: Issues and solutions. EGU General Assembly Conference Abstracts; 2015.
[43].            Wischmeier WH, Smith DD. Predicting rainfall erosion losses-a guide to conservation planning. Predicting rainfall erosion losses-a guide to conservation planning. Washington: US Department of Agriculture; 1978.
[44].            Niknammi D, Mehdian M. Rainfall erosivity mapping in Iran, Journal of Watershed Engineering and Management. 2015; 6(4): 364-376.
[45].            Sadeghi SHR, Tavangar S. Development of stational models for estimation of rainfall erosivity factor in different timescales. Natural Hazards. 2015; 77(1):429-43.
[46].            Zabihi M, Sadeghi S.H.R, Vafakhah M. Spatial analysis of rainfall erosivity index patterns at different time scales in Iran. Watershed Engineering and Management; 2015, 7(4): 442-457. (In Persian)
[47].            Brown LC, Foster GR. Storm erosivity using idealized intensity distributions. Transactions of the ASAE. 1987; 30(2):379-0386.
[48].            Mahdavi, M. Applied hydrology. Tehran University Press. 2009, 342 p (in Persian).
[49].            FAO/IIASA/ISRIC/ISSCAS/JRC. Harmonized World Soil Database (version 1.2). FAO, Rome, Italy and IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria. 2012.
[50].            Roose E. Land husbandry: components and strategy. FAO soils bulletin, 1996.
[51].            Renard KG. Predicting soil erosion by water: a guide to conservation planning with the revised universal soil loss equation (RUSLE), 1997.
[52].            Anache JA, Bacchi CG, Alves-Sobrinho T. Modeling of (R) USLE C-factor for pasture as a function of Normalized Difference Vegetation Index. Eur Int J Sci Technol. 2014; 3(9):214-21.
[53].            Lin CY, Lin WT, Chou WC. Soil erosion prediction and sediment yield estimation: the Taiwan experience. Soil and Tillage Research. 2002; 68(2):143-52.
[54].            Drzewiecki W, Wężyk P, Pierzchalski M, Szafrańska B. Quantitative and qualitative assessment of soil erosion risk in Małopolska (Poland), supported by an object-based analysis of high-resolution satellite images. Pure and Applied Geophysics. 2014; 171(6):867-95.
[55].             Kardavani, P. Conservation Soil, 8th ed. Tehran: Tehran University Press, 1384. (In Persian).
[56].            Panagos P, Borrelli P, Meusburger K, Yu B, Klik A, Lim KJ, et al. Global rainfall erosivity assessment based on high-temporal resolution rainfall records. Scientific Reports. 2017; 7(1):4175.
[57].            Panagos P, Ballabio C, Borrelli P, Meusburger K, Klik A, Rousseva S, Tadić MP, Michaelides S, Hrabalíková M, Olsen P, Aalto J. Rainfall erosivity in Europe. Science of the Total Environment. 2015; 511:801-14.
[58].            Sadeghi SH, Hazbavi Z. Trend analysis of the rainfall erosivity index at different time scales in Iran. Natural Hazards. 2015; 77(1):383-404.
[59].            Sadeghi SH, Zabihi M, Vafakhah M, Hazbavi Z. Spatiotemporal mapping of rainfall erosivity index for different return periods in Iran. Natural Hazards. 2017; 87(1):35-56.
[60].            Yang X, Yu B, Xie X. Predicting changes of rainfall erosivity and hillslope erosion risk across greater Sydney Region, Australia. International Journal of Geospatial and Environmental Research. 2015; 2(1):2.
[61].            HakimKhani Sh, Mahdian M H, Arabkhedri M, Ghorbanpour D. Investigation of rainfall erosivity in the country. 3rd National Conference of Erosion and Sediment, Tehran. August 27-30.2005; 434-440 (in Persian).
[62].            Masudian, S.A. Iran weather. Mashhad Sharie Toos Press, 2011. P.242 (In Persian).
[63].            Yue-Qing X, Xiao-Mei S, Xiang-Bin K, Jian P, Yun-Long C. Adapting the RUSLE and GIS to model soil erosion risk in a mountains karst watershed, Guizhou Province, China. Environmental monitoring and Assessment. 2008; 141(1):275-86.
[64].            Arekhi S, Niazi Y, Kalteh AM. Soil erosion and sediment yield modeling using RS and GIS techniques: a case study, Iran. Arabian Journal of Geosciences. 2012; 5(2):285-96.
[65].            Fathizad H, Karimi H, Alibakhshi SM. The estimation of erosion and sediment by using the RUSLE model and RS and GIS techniques (Case study: Arid and semi-arid regions of Doviraj, Ilam province, Iran). International Journal of Agriculture and Crop Sciences. 2014; 7(6):303.
[66].            Bafkar A, Mojaradi H. Conservation of water and soil, 1st ed., Kermanshah: Razi University Press, 1385. (In Persian)
[67].            Roozitalab M.H. General characteristics of soils in Iran, a review of the productive potential and its limitations. Daneshmand Magazine. 1990; 28: 18-26.
[68].            Studies and research institute for planning and agricultural economics. Seminar on water and
agricultural, conference on the challenges and prospects for the development of Iran. Institute of education and research management and planning, dependent on management and planning organization of Iran. 2002; 28-49 pp. (in Persian)
[69].            Forest, range and watershed management organization. Development document of natural. 2008.
[70].            Forest, range and watershed management organization. Landscape study of watersheds. Deputy of watershed management, watershed annual report, 2007. 27 pp. (In Persian)
[71].            Arabkhedri, M. Investigating of suspended sedimentation in watersheds of Iran. Journal of Iran Water Resource, 2005. 2: 51-61 (In Persian).
[72].            Mahdian M. H. Study of Lands degradation in Iran. Proceedings of the third national conference of erosion & sediment. Tehran, Iran, 2004; 226-231 (In Persian).
[73].            Rezaei P, Faridi P, Ghorbani M, Kazemi M.Estimating of soil erosion by using RUSLE model and identifying of the most effective factor in Gabric-southeast watershed basin of the Hormozgan province. Journal of Quantitative Geomorphology, 2014; 3 (1): 97-113 (In Persian).
[74].            Khorsand M, Khaledi Darvishan A, Gholamali Fard M. Evaluation of estimation of annual soil erosion of the RUSLE model with data obtained from pin and erosion plots in the watershed of Khamessan. Eco Hydrology Journal, 2017; 3(4):669-680 (In Persian).