SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1992

Regional Soil Loss Prediction Utilizing the RUSLE/GIS Interface


The revised universal soil loss equation (RUSLE) for rangelands was successfully interfaced with geographic information systems (GIS). The procedure utilizes raster processing capabilities of the map analysis and processing system (MAPS) to overlay data themes containing spatially distributed values for differentRUSLE factors. Within the limitations in accuracy of the USLE style calculation, cell processing, and information contained in input data layers, the methodology produces a map of relative levels of soil erosion potential which reflects the effects of rainfall, soil type, terrain, vegetation, and erosion control practice on soil loss. Improvements in processing to obtain the terrain (LS) factor from digital elevation models (DEMs) permit quick calculation of soil loss potential for large areas. Since the resolution of the product is determined by the quality and availability of the data, the methodology could be applied differentially to various areas and data sets to produce maps of low, medium, and high resolution. The flexibility of the procedure permits modeling of various management alternatives by changing values for the appropriate factors to reflect changing conditions. Furthermore, the RUSLE/GIS interface can be interfaced with other GIS models. All of the preceding indicate that the RUSLE/GIS interface has potential for and could be adapted for soil degradation studies on a global scale. The following is a conceptual summary of the procedure and is meant to provide only a quick overview of the methodology.

Author Information

Blaszczynski, J
Branch of Interim LIS Management, Denver Service Center, Denver, CO
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Developed by Committee: D18
Pages: 122–131
DOI: 10.1520/STP24192S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5188-8
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1471-5