About the Universal Soil Loss EquationThe Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) is hailed as one of the most significant developments in soil and water conservation in the 20 thcentury. It is an empirical technology that has been applied around the world to estimate soil erosion by raindrop impact and surface runoff. The development of the USLE was the culmination of decades of soil erosion experimentation conducted by university faculty and federal scientists across the United States. USLE as a complete technology was first published in 1965 in USDA Agriculture Handbook 282. An updated version was published in 1978 in Agriculture Handbook 537. The Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE), which is a computerized version of USLE with improvements in many of the factor estimates, was initially released for public use in 1992. Work is continuing on a further-enhanced Windows version of the software, known as RUSLE2. Universal Soil Loss Equation A = R K L S C P The USLE was developed at the USDA National Runoff and Soil Loss Data Center at Purdue University in a national effort led by Walter H. Wischmeier and Dwight D. Smith. The USLE is based on extensive erosion data from studies throughtout the USA, and provides a quick approach to estimating long-term average annual soil loss (A). The equation is comprised of six factors:
The National Soil Erosion Research Lab, located in West Lafayette, Indiana, serves as the repository for the USLE data which is made available via this web site. The data is available in three different sets: Storm Data, Soil Loss and Runoff, and Site Specific Data. These sets are taken from various locations from all over the United States.