Assessment of soil erosion in the Boussellam watershed, Algeria: integrated approach using the erosion potential method (EPM) and GIS

Morad Benaiche, Elhadj Mokhtari, Ali Berghout

Abstract


Land degradation is a growing concern, exacerbated by recent climate change. Water erosion emerges as a crucial tool to address this issue. This study focuses on estimating soil loss from water erosion in the Boussellam valley watershed, a part of the expansive Soummam basin in northeastern Algeria, characterized by a semi-humid to humid climate. Covering an expanse of 4,301 Km2 with a perimeter of 420 Km, the basin's assessment incorporates often-overlooked factors such as temperature. Utilizing Geographic Information System (GIS) in conjunction with GAVRILOVIC's EPM (Erosion Potential Method) model, erosion projections for the year 2022 have been generated. The findings reveal that the entire Boussellam watershed experiences an average erosion rate of 8.50 tonnes per hectare annually. However, it is evident that the current protective measures implemented by decision-makers are suboptimal. To pinpoint the most vulnerable areas, GIS was employed to map and subsequently categorize them into five levels of erosion intensity: low, moderate, medium, high, and very high. These detailed maps will enable more precise and tailored interventions by decision-makers to effectively safeguard the regions most impacted by erosion.

Key words: erosion, EPM, GIS, Boussellam watershed, Algeria

© 2023 Serbian Geographical Society, Belgrade, Serbia.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Serbia.


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