Predicting unit plot soil loss in Sicily, south Italy

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Abstract

Predicting soil loss is necessary to establish soil conservation measures. Variability of soil and hydrological parameters complicates mathematical simulation of soil erosion processes. Methods for predicting unit plot soil loss in Sicily were developed by using 5 years of data from replicated plots. At first, the variability of the soil water content, runoff, and unit plot soil loss values collected at fixed dates or after an erosive event was investigated. The applicability of the Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) was then tested. Finally, a method to predict event soil loss was developed. Measurement variability decreased as the mean increased above a threshold value but it was low also for low values of the measured variable. The mean soil loss predicted by the USLE was lower than the measured value by 48%. The annual values of the soil erodibility factor varied by seven times whereas the mean monthly values varied between 1% and 244% of the mean annual value. The event unit plot soil loss was directly proportional to an erosivity index equal to QRe1-609, being QRRc the runoff ratio times the single storm erosion index. It was concluded that a relatively low number of replicates of the variable of interest may be collected to estimate the mean for both high and particularly low values of the variable. The USLE with the mean annual soil erodibility factor may be applied to estimate the order of magnitude of the mean soil loss but it is not usable to estimate soil loss at shorter temporal scales. The relationship for estimating the event soil loss is a modified version of the USLE-M, given that it includes an exponent for the QRRe term.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)586-595
Numero di pagine10
RivistaHydrological Processes
Volume22
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2008

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology

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