Integration of Modified Universal Soil Loss Equation (MUSLE) into a GIS Framework to Assess Soil Erosion Risk

Yanli Zhang, Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, Stephen F. Austin State University
J. Degroote, University of Northern Iowa
C. Degroote, Iowa DNR/IGS
Ramanathan Sugumaran, University of Northern Iowa

Author pre-print edition posted

Original article appeared in:

Land Degradation & Development 20(1); 84-91 Feb 2009 (first appeared online Dec 2008)

DOI: 10.1002/ldr.893


Soil erosion is an important economic and environmental concern throughout the world. In order to assess soil erosion risk and conserve water and soil resources, soil erosion modeling at the watershed scale is urgently needed. This study integrated the Modified Universal Soil Loss Equation (MUSLE) in a Geographic Information System (GIS) framework in the form of a tool called ArcMUSLE, an extension of ArcGIS® software, to assist soil and water conservation agencies in soil erosion risk assessment and prioritization of critical areas for soil erosion control practices. With widely available spatial data, this tool can be applied to determine curve numbers, to estimate runoff, peak flow, and soil loss for a rainfall event within a watershed. An application example for a watershed in Black Hawk County, Iowa, USA, is presented.