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Spatial assessment of erosion and its impact on soil fertility in the Tajik foothills


Wolfgramm, Bettina; Seiler, Bruno; Kneubühler, Mathias; Liniger, Hanspeter (2007). Spatial assessment of erosion and its impact on soil fertility in the Tajik foothills. EARSeL eProceedings, 6(1):12-25.

Abstract

Efficient planning of soil conservation measures requires, first, to understand the impact of soil erosion on soil fertility with regard to local land cover classes; and second, to identify hot spots of soil erosion and bright spots of soil conservation in a spatially explicit manner. Soil organic carbon (SOC) is an important indicator of soil fertility. The aim of this study was to conduct a spatial assessment of erosion and its impact on SOC for specific land cover classes. Input data consisted of extensive ground truth, a digital elevation model and Landsat 7 imagery from two different seasons. Soil spectral reflectance readings were taken from soil samples in the laboratory and calibrated with results of SOC chemical analysis using regression tree modelling. The resulting model statistics for soil degradation assessments are promising (R2=0.71, RMSEV=0.32). Since the area includes rugged terrain and small agricultural plots, the decision tree models allowed mapping of land cover classes, soil erosion incidence and SOC content classes at an acceptable level of accuracy for preliminary studies. The various datasets were linked in the hot-bright spot matrix, which was developed to combine soil erosion incidence information and SOC content levels (for uniform land cover classes) in a scatter plot. The quarters of the plot show different stages of degradation, from well conserved land to hot spots of soil degradation. The approach helps to gain a better understanding of the impact of soil erosion on soil fertility and to identify hot and bright spots in a spatially explicit manner. The results show distinctly lower SOC content levels on large parts of the test areas, where annual crop cultivation was dominant in the 1990s and where cultivation has now been abandoned. On the other hand, there are strong indications that afforestations and fruit orchards established in the 1980s have been successful in conserving soil resources.

Efficient planning of soil conservation measures requires, first, to understand the impact of soil erosion on soil fertility with regard to local land cover classes; and second, to identify hot spots of soil erosion and bright spots of soil conservation in a spatially explicit manner. Soil organic carbon (SOC) is an important indicator of soil fertility. The aim of this study was to conduct a spatial assessment of erosion and its impact on SOC for specific land cover classes. Input data consisted of extensive ground truth, a digital elevation model and Landsat 7 imagery from two different seasons. Soil spectral reflectance readings were taken from soil samples in the laboratory and calibrated with results of SOC chemical analysis using regression tree modelling. The resulting model statistics for soil degradation assessments are promising (R2=0.71, RMSEV=0.32). Since the area includes rugged terrain and small agricultural plots, the decision tree models allowed mapping of land cover classes, soil erosion incidence and SOC content classes at an acceptable level of accuracy for preliminary studies. The various datasets were linked in the hot-bright spot matrix, which was developed to combine soil erosion incidence information and SOC content levels (for uniform land cover classes) in a scatter plot. The quarters of the plot show different stages of degradation, from well conserved land to hot spots of soil degradation. The approach helps to gain a better understanding of the impact of soil erosion on soil fertility and to identify hot and bright spots in a spatially explicit manner. The results show distinctly lower SOC content levels on large parts of the test areas, where annual crop cultivation was dominant in the 1990s and where cultivation has now been abandoned. On the other hand, there are strong indications that afforestations and fruit orchards established in the 1980s have been successful in conserving soil resources.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2007
Deposited On:04 Apr 2013 06:07
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 16:44
Publisher:European Association of Remote Sensing Laboratories
ISSN:1729-3782
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Official URL:http://www.eproceedings.org/static/vol06_1/06_1_wolfgramm1.pdf
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-77206

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