Prediction of combined effect of climate and land use changes on soil erosion in Iran using GloSEM data

Document Type : Research Article


1 Dept. Rangeland and Watershed Management Fac. Natural Resources and Environment University of Birjand Birjand Iran

2 Dept. of Desert Area Management, Faculty of Natural Resources and Environment, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad (FUM), Mashhad, Iran.


Soil erosion is a complex process with adverse environmental impacts. Therefore, in this study, to assess the severity of soil erosion in Iran watersheds, the validated data set of the Global Soil Erosion Modeling project (GloSEM database) were used. This project includes baseline scenario (2015) and future forecasts (2070) of soil erosion with the effects of climate change in three scenarios RCP2.6, RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 on rainfall erosivity factor (R) and the effects of land use change in three combined scenarios SSP1-RCP2.6, RCP4.5 SSP2- and SSP5- RCP8.5 on vegetation (C) and soil protection (P) factors. The results showed that the vulnerability of central, southern, and eastern watersheds due to climate change and land use chaange was higher than other watersheds. In these areas, even without considering the effects of climate change, the trend of soil erosion changes in the baseline scenario (2015) with SSP2-RCP4.5 and SSP5-RCP8.5 scenarios has been increasing, but declining in humid or semi-humid areas in north and west. Considering the combined effects of land use and climate change, the trend of soil erosion changes between the baseline scenario (2015) with the scenarios of SSP1-RCP2.6 (with an average increase of 184%), SSP2-RCP4.5 (with an average increase of 243%) and SSP5- RCP8.5 (with an average increase of 341%) has been increasing in all watersheds except Aras watershed. The results of the study indicate that the vulnerability of more than 10 times in the central watersheds of Iran due to climate and land use changes by 2070.


[1]. Akbari M, Ownegh M, Asgari H, Sadoddin A, Khosravi H. Soil Erosion Risk Assessment Using the CORINE Model (Case Study: Semi-Arid Region in Golestan Province). Desert Ecosystem Engineering Journal. 2016; 12: 63-78 [Persian]
[2].  Demirci A, Karaburun A. Estimation of soil erosion using RUSLE in a GIS framework: a case study in the Buyukcekmece Lake watershed, northwest Turkey. Environmental Earth Sciences. 2011; 66: 903–913.
[3].  Xu L, Xu X, Meng X. Risk assessment of soil erosion in different rainfall scenarios by RUSLE model coupled with Information Diffusion Model: a case study of Bohai Rim, China. Catena. 2013. 100: 74–82.
[4].  Imbrenda V. Indicators for the estimation of vulnerability to land degradation derived from soil compaction and vegetation cover. European Journal of Soil Science. 2014; 65: 907–923.
[5].  Montanarella L. Agricultural policy: Govern our soils. Nature. 2015. 528: 32–33
[6].  Paustian K, Lehmann J, Ogle S, Reay D, Robertson P, Smith P. Climate-smart soils. Nature. 2016; 532: 49–57
[7].  Telles TS, Guimarães M, Dechen SC. The costs of soil erosion. Revista Brasileira de Ciência do Solo. 2011; 35: 287–298
[8].  FAO. Healthy Soils Are the Basis for Healthy Food Production (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations [FAO]. 2015; pp. 1–4. Accessed 11 August 2020
[9].  Montgomery DR. Soil erosion and agricultural sustainability. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2007; 104: 13268–13272
[10].            Akbari M, Neamatollahi E, Neamatollahi P. Evaluating land suitability for spatial planning in arid regions of eastern Iran using fuzzy logic and multi-criteria analysis. Ecological Indicators. 2019; 98: 587–598. Https: // nd.2018.11.035.
[11].            Robinson et al. Soil Natural Capital in Europe; A framework for state and change assessment. Scientific Reports. 2017; 7: 6706
[12].            Li J, Richter DD. Effects of two-century land use changes on soil iron crystallinity and accumulation in Southeastern Piedmont region, USA. Geoderma. 2011; 173-174:184–191.
[13].            Qiu L, X. Wei X, Zhang J, Cheng W, Gale C, Long T. Soil organic carbon losses due to land use change in a semiarid grassland. Plant and Soil. 2012; 355: 299-309.
[14].            O’Neal MR, Nearing MA, Vining RC, Southworth J, Pfeifer RA. Climate change impacts on soil erosion in Midwest United States with changes in crop management. Catena. 2005; 61, 165–184
[15].            Nabati J, Nezami A, Neamatollahi E, Akbari M. GIS-based agro-ecological zoning for crop suitability using fuzzy inference system in semi-arid regions. Ecological Indicators. 2020; 117: 106646.
[16].            Lobell DB, Schlenker W, Costa-Roberts J. Climate trends and global crop production since 1980. Science. 2011; 333: 616-620
[17].            Brevik EC, Slaughter L, Singh BR, Steffan JJ, Collier D, Barnhart P, Pereira P. Soil and Human Health: Current Status and Future Needs Show less, Air, Soil and Water Research. 2020; 13: 1–23.
[18].            Liu C, Hofstra N, Franz E. Impacts of climate change on the microbial safety of pre-harvest leafy green vegetables as indicated by Escherichia coli O157 and Salmonella Spp. International Journal of Food Microbiology. 2013; 163: 119– 128
[19].            Butler C, McFarlane R. Climate Change, Food Security, and Population Health in the Anthropocene, Encyclopedia of the Anthropocene. 2018; 2: 453-459
[20].            UNCCD. Land degradation, poverty and inequality. 2019; Accessed 11 August 2020.
[21].            Robinson D, Panagos P, Borrelli P, Jones A, Montanarella L, Tye A, Obst CG. Soil natural capital in Europe; A framework for state and change assessment. Scientific Reports. 2017; 7: 6706
[22].            Diffen NS, Burke M. Global warming has increased global economic inequality. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2019; 116: 9808–9813
[23].            Keesstra SD, Bouma J, Wallinga J, Tittonell P, Smith P, Cerdà et al. The significance of soils and soil science towards realization of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Soil. 2016; 2(2): 111-128.
[24].            Missirian W. Asylum applications respond to temperature fluctuations. Science. 2017; 358: 1610–1614
[25].            Han H, Yang J, Ma G, Liu Y, Zhang L, Chen S, Ma S. Effects of land-use and climate change on sediment and nutrient retention in Guizhou, China. Ecosystem Health and Sustainability. 2020; 6(1): 1810592.
[26].            Kogo BK, Kumar L, Koech R. Impact of Land Use/Cover Changes on Soil Erosion in Western Kenya.Sustainability. 2020; 12: 9740.
[27].            Chen CN, Tfwala SS, Tsai CH. Climate Change Impacts on Soil Erosion and Sediment Yield in a Watershed. Water. 2020; 12: 2247;
[28].            Fu A, Cai Y, Sun T, Li F. Estimating the Impact of Land Cover Change on Soil Erosion Using Remote Sensing and GIS Data by USLE Model and Scenario Design. Scientific Programming. 2021; 6633428.
[29].            Yang D, Kanae S, Oki T, Koike T, Musiake K. Global potential soil erosion with reference to land use and climate changes. Hydrological Processes. 2003; 17: 2913–2928
[30].            Ito A. Simulated impacts of climate and land-cover change on soil erosion and implication for the carbon cycle, 1901 to 2100. Geophysical Research Letters. 2007; 34: L09403
[31].            Liu L, Zhang X, Gao Y, Chen X, Shuai X, Mi J, Finer-Resolution Mapping of Global Land Cover: Recent Developments, Consistency Analysis, and Prospects, Journal of Remote Sensing, 2021; 38: 5289697.
[32].            Fick SE, Hijmans RJ. World Clim 2: New 1-km spatial resolution climate surfaces forglobal land areas. International Journal of Climatology. 2017; 37: 4302–4315
[33].            Panagos et al. Global rainfall erosivity assessment based on high-temporal resolutionrainfall records. Scientific Reports. 2017; 7: 4175
[34].            Borrelli P, Robinson DA, Panagos P, Lugato E, Yang JE, Alewell et al. Land use and climate change impacts on global soil erosion by water (2015-2070). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2020; 117(36): 21994-22001.
[35].            Forest, Range and Watershed Management Organization. Landscape Study of Watersheds.Deputy of Watershed Management, Watershed Annual Report. 2007-2008; 27 pp. [Persian]
[36].            Nikkami DM, Arabkhedri A. Sarreshtedari L, Dadmarz L. Investigation and determination of the most appropriate erosivity index in different regions of Iran. Final report of the research project. Soil Conservation and Watershed Management Research Institute. 2013; 120 p [Persian]
[37].            Khajavi E, ArabKhedri M, Mahdian MH, 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): 137-151 [Persian]
[38].            Feyz Nia S. Resistance of rocks to erosion in different climates of Iran. (2001); 95-116. [Persian]
[39].            Goodarzi M, Pourhashemi M, Zahra Azizi Z. Investigation on Zagros forests cover changes under the recent droughts using satellite imagery, Journal of Forest Science. 2019; 65: 9-17.
[40].            Tajbakhsh SM, Memarian H, Moradi K, Afshar AA. Performance comparison of land change modeling techniques for land use projection of arid watersheds. Global Journal of Environmental Science and Management. 2018; 4(3): 263-280.
[41].            Azad Gholami Kasmakhi F, Rezaei P, Gandomkar A. Seasonal Analysis of Days of Heavy Rainfall in Talesh-Anzali Basin, Journal of Natural Environmental Hazards. 2020; 9(25): 17-40. [Persian]
[42].            Vaghefi SA, Keykhai M, Jahanbakhshi F, Sheikholeslami J, Ahmadi A, Yang H, Abbaspour KC. The future of extreme climate in Iran. Scientific reports. 2019; 9(1): 1-11.
[43].            Babaeian I, Modirian R, Karimian M, Zarghami M. Simulation of climate change in Iran during 2071-2100 using PRECIS regional climate modelling system. 2015; [Persian]
[44].            Alizadeh A. Principles of applied hydrology. Mashhad: Emam Reza University. 2008 [Persian]
[45].            Arabkhedri M. A Review on Major Water Erosion Factors in Iran, Journal of Land Management. 2014; 2(1): 17 - 26. [Persian]
[46].            Ebrahimzadeh I, Esmaeil Nejad M. The Future Challenge of Climatic Refugees Regional Developments Case study: South Khorasan, Geography and Development Iranian Journal. 2017; 15(48): 1-18. DOI:10.22111/gdij.2017.3347 [Persian]
[47].            Sharafati A, Pezeshki E. A strategy to assess the uncertainty of a climate change impact on extreme hydrological events in the semi-arid Dehbar catchment in Iran. Theoretical and Applied Climatology. 2020; 139(1): 389-402
[48].            Afshar AA, Hasanzadeh Y, Besalatpour AA, Pourreza-Bilondi M. Climate change forecasting in a mountainous data scarce watershed using CMIP5 models under representative concentration pathways. Theoretical and applied climatology. 2017; 129(1): 683-699
[49].            Sadeghi SHR, Hazbavi Z. Trend analysis of the rainfall erosivity index at different time scales in Iran. Natural Hazards. 2015; 77(1): 383-404.
[50].            Taghipour M, Yaghmaeian Mahabadi N, Shabanpour M. Effect of Land Use Change on Organic Carbon Storage in Aggregates and Bulk Soil in Tootkabon Area, Guilan Province. Iranian Journal of Soil Research. 2020; 33(4): 577-590. [Persian]
[51].            Ramezanpour H, Rasooli N. Effects of Land Use Changes and Parent Materials on Some Soil Properties in Guilan Province. Iranian Journal of Soil Research. 2015; 29(2): 221-231 [Persian]
[52].            Mozaffari H, Moosavi AA, Sepaskhah AR. Effect of Land Use on of Some Physical and Chemical Properties of a Calcareous Soil. Journal of Soil Research. 2019; 33(4): 525-541 [Persian]
[53].            Jalali H. Agriculture in Iran. Agricultural Office of Statistics Center of Iran. 2018. Accessed 12 April 2020.
[54].            Ministry of Agriculture, Deputy Minister of Livestock Production, Livestock Population Statistics in 2009. Accessed 22 April 2021.
[55].            Memarian H, Bilondi MP, Komeh Z. Parameter Optimization of KINEROS2 Using Particle Swarm Optimization Algorithm within R Environment for Rainfall–Runoff Simulation. In Spatial Modeling in GIS and R for Earth and Environmental Sciences. 2019; 117-146.
[56].            IPCC. Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part A: Global and Sectoral Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA. 2014; 1132 pp.
[57].            Memarian H, Afshar AA, Abbas Nia M, Majidi M. Modeling the effects of climate change on water resources, Isfahan University Jihad Publishing. 2019. [Persian]
[58].            Popp A, Calvin K, Fujimori S, Havlik P, Humpenöder F, Stehfest et al. Land-use futures in the shared socio-economic pathways. Global Environmental Change. 2017; 42: 331-345.
Volume 8, Issue 2
July 2021
Pages 513-534
  • Receive Date: 31 January 2021
  • Revise Date: 15 June 2021
  • Accept Date: 15 June 2021
  • First Publish Date: 22 June 2021
  • Publish Date: 22 June 2021