ASSESSMENT OF SOIL EROSION BY RUSLE MODEL IN THE MELLEGUE WATERSHED, NORTHEAST OF ALGERIA
Journal: Environment & Ecosystem Science (EES)
Author: Kamel Khanchoul, Kaouther Selmi, Kaddour Benmarce
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited
In Algeria, soil erosion has experienced a spectacular extension, it is therefore imperative to assess the effects of this phenomenon. The purpose of this study is to assess soil loss rate using a GIS/USLE approach at the Mellegue watershed, northeast of Algeria. Geographic Information System techniques have been adopted to process data obtained at the study watershed, of reasonable spatial mapping, for the application of the RUSLE model. The model is a multiplication of the five erosion factors, namely rainfall erosivity, soil erodibility, slope and length of slope, plant cover and anti-erosion practices. Each of these factors has been expressed as a thematic map. The resulting soil loss map, with mean erosion rate of 20.40 T/ha/year, shows very low erosion (≤ 7 T/ha/year) which covers 64.60% of the total area of the basin, and very high erosion (> 60 T/ha/year) which does not exceed 4.80% of the basin area. The results indicate that Chabro and downstream Mellegue sub-watersheds face the greatest risk of soil erosion compared to Meskiana sub-basin, with contributions of 14.20 % and 12.90 % of their basin areas respectively. This is mainly due to natural factors and anthropogenic activities without appropriate conservation practices of agricultural land.