Estimation of soil erosion risk within an important agricultural sub-watershed in Bursa, Turkey, in relation to rapid urbanization


ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING AND ASSESSMENT, vol.187, no.7, 2015 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier


This paper integrates the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) with a GIS model to investigate the spatial distribution of annual soil loss and identify areas of soil erosion risk in the Uluabat sub-watershed, an important agricultural site in Bursa Province, Turkey. The total soil loss from water erosion was 473,274 Mg year(-1). Accordingly, 60.3 % of the surveyed area was classified into a very low erosion risk class while 25.7 % was found to be in high and severe erosion risk classes. Soil loss had a close relationship with land use and topography. The most severe erosion risk typically occurs on ridges and steep slopes where agriculture, degraded forest, and shrubs are the main land uses and cover types. Another goal of this study was to use GIS to reveal the multi-year urbanization status caused by rapid urbanization that constitutes another soil erosion risk in this area. Urbanization has increased by 57.7 % and the most areal change was determined in class I lands at a rate of 80 % over 25 years. Urbanization was identified as one of the causes of excessive soil loss in the study area.