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01.10.2011 | Original Article | Ausgabe 3/2011

Environmental Earth Sciences 3/2011

Assessment of the effects of vegetation on soil erosion risk by water: a case of study of the Batta watershed in Tunisia

Zeitschrift:
Environmental Earth Sciences > Ausgabe 3/2011
Autoren:
Mohamed Kefi, Kunihiko Yoshino, Yudi Setiawan, Khemaies Zayani, Mohamed Boufaroua

Abstract

Soil erosion by water is a serious environmental problem which affects particularly the agriculture of developing countries. Due to specific factors, such as high rainfall intensity, steep slopes and vegetation scarcity, Tunisia is prone to soil erosion. Taking this into account, the main objective of this study was to estimate the soil erosion risk in the Batta watershed in Tunisia using qualitative and quantitative erosion model with remote sensing data and geographic information system (GIS). Moreover, a developed method that deals with evaluating the impact of vegetation on soil erosion by water is also applied. This method used multi-temporal satellite images with seasonal variability and the transformed soil adjusted vegetation index (TSAVI) which is appropriate in arid and semi-arid areas. For both erosion models, the results show that a large area of the Batta watershed is seriously affected by erosion. This potentially high risk is due especially to severe slopes, poor vegetation coverage and high soil erodibility in this watershed. Furthermore, the use of multi-temporal satellite images and vegetation index show that the effect of vegetation is a significant factor to protect the soil against erosion. The risk is especially serious in the summer season, but it decreases with the growth of vegetation cover in spring. Erosion model, combined with a GIS and remote sensing, is an adequate method to evaluate the soil erosion risk by water. The findings can be used by decision makers as a guideline to plan appropriate strategies for soil and water conservation practices.

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