Soil loss as a desertification risk indicator: mapping and simulation in the Salitre River Sub-Basin, Northeast Brazil
Revista Brasileira de Ciência do Solo
Discussions on desertification frequently highlight soil erosion as a striking feature of this phenomenon. In particular, the high spatial density of gullies represents a strong indication of the formation of desertification hotspots. In this study, through field activities and Monte Carlo simulations, we estimated the volume of soil loss by linear erosion on the slopes of the middle course of the Salitre river in the North of Bahia State. This estimative contributes to the recognition of a
... ecognition of a desertification process in the studied local. The lengths of the gullies and rills, visible through high-spatial-resolution satellite images, were vectorized. The width and depth of the Linear Erosion Features (LEFs) were measured through field study and recorded via geoprocessing. Statistical treatment was applied to the data to indicate the probability of occurrence of the width and depth classes. Subsequently, the Monte Carlo simulation was used to indicate the volume of soil removed from the slopes by the linear erosion process. Several ramified systems of LEFs are identified and mapped. Monte Carlo simulation fits the measured data well. Estimates indicate that linear erosion event eroded approximately 450,000 m³ of soil in an area of 2,000 hectares, which indicates extreme land degradation.