Prediction of soil erosion and sediment transport in a mountainous basin of Taiwan

Yuei An Liou, Quang Viet Nguyen, Duc Vinh Hoang, Duy Phien Tran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Soil erosion substantially implicates global nutrient and carbon cycling of the land surface. Its monitoring is crucial for assessing and managing global land productivity and socio-economy. The Zhuoshui River Basin, the largest catchment, in Taiwan is highly susceptible to soil erosion by water due to extremely high rainfall, rugged terrain, easily eroded soil, and intensively agricultural cultivation over the steep land. Hence, this study examines the annual soil erosion rate for 2005, 2011, and 2019 and the average long-term soil erosion and sediment yield (SY) during 2005–2019. Coupling of the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) and sediment delivery ratio (SDR) models is implemented using remote sensing and GIS techniques. The soil erosion rate is classified into five classes, namely mild (0–10 t ha−1 year−1), moderate (10–50 t ha−1 year−1), moderately severe (50–100 t ha−1 year−1), severe (100–150 t ha−1 year−1), and very severe (> 150 t ha−1 year−1). Over one half of the total area is categorized as moderate and moderately severe classes, and one-third of the whole basin as severe and very severe classes. Recently, mild and moderate classes increase, while moderately severe, severe, and very severe decrease. During 2005–2019, the annual soil loss rate ranges from 0.00 to 6,881.88 t ha−1 year−1 with an average rate of 122.94 t ha−1 year−1. Among the SDR models, the RUSLE combined with the SDR model with the length and slope gradient of mainstream shows satisfactory sediment yield estimation. Predictably, the downstream receives a massive sediment delivery from all upper streams (246.06 × 106 t year−1), and the percent bias values for all sub-basins are below ± 39.0%. The study provides a rapid approach to investigate soil erosion and sediment yield, and it can be applied to the other basins in Taiwan. More importantly, information about spatial patterns of soil erosion and SY is critical to establish suitable measures to achieve effective watershed planning and optimize the regional productivity and socio-economy. The proposed approach is potentially to identify risk areas, conduct scenario estimation for management, and perform spatiotemporal comparison of soil erosion, while adjustment in the empirical formulas of the proposed approach may be needed when it is applied to the other regions, especially outside Taiwan. [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Article number52
JournalProgress in Earth and Planetary Science
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Keywords

  • RUSLE
  • Sediment delivery ratio
  • Sediment yield
  • Soil erosion
  • Zhuoshui River Basin

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