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Terrestrial Erosion

Soil erosion is a major soil degradation problem, confronting land and water resource management throughout South Africa. Soil erosion involves the loss of fertile topsoil and reduction of soil productivity, as well as serious off-site impacts related to increased mobilization of sediment and delivery to rivers. Before prevention of soil erosion or remediation can be undertaken, the spatial extent of the problem should be established. The assessment of areas that are susceptible to erosion is important in policy terms because it indicates those areas which are inherently susceptible to erosion (potential risk), but which are presently protected by vegetation.

The report by Le Roux (2011) gives a description of soil erosion impacts reviews mechanisms leading to sheet-rill and gully development. The report also provides a brief description of the methodologies for regional water erosion assessment using satellite remote sensing addressing mainly erosion detection of eroded areas and features. Such remote sensing modelling approaches are relatively simple, realistic and practical, and can be applied or expanded to other areas of South Africa at a regional scale, thereby providing a tool to help with the implementation of a decision support or risk-management system for soil conservation and sustainable management. The report also describes two spatial inventories namely a gully location map of South Africa created by visual interpretation and vectorization from SPOT 5 satellite imagery, and a water erosion prediction map of South Africa created by a simplified version of the Universal Soil Loss Equation (emphasizing sheet-rill erosion)

Le Roux, J.J. 2011. Monitoring soil erosion in South Africa at a regional scale. ARC-ISCw

Download the report.