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Title: REVISED UNIVERSAL SOIL LOSS EQUATION (RUSLE): A TOOL TO GUIDE CONSERVATION PLANNING AT THE LOCAL FIELD OFFICE LEVEL

Author
item FOSTER, G
item McGregor, Keith
item McCool, Donald
item WEESIES, G
item YODER, D
item Bingner, Ronald - Ron
item RENARD, K
item Simanton, John - Roger
item LAFLEN, J

Submitted to: Sino-American Workshop on Sediment Management in Agricultural Watersheds
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/18/2000
Publication Date: 6/16/2000
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Soil erosion by water continues to be a major problem that affects many land uses including cropland, rangelands, forest lands, land fills, military training grounds, mined land, reclaimed land, and construction sites. Development of the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) provided conservationists a method to use to select the best conservation plans for soil erosion control. The concept in using this erosion prediction technology to guide conservation planning was to select a land use practice with a predicted soil loss that is lower than an acceptable limit, which is usually referred as the soil loss tolerance value. The widely used RUSLE is considered to be the best erosion prediction technology available for conservation planning at the local field office level. As a consequence, RUSLE has been implemented by the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) throughout its field office system. RUSLE has been routinely used by local NRCS conservationists to help farmers and other land users to protect and preserve the landscape and associated soils for years of future productive use. This erosion prediction technology has been used by many public and private organizations to assist in conservation planning to ensure that the land is used in a way that prevents excessive erosion to provide for the long term maintenance of the land as a natural resource and to protect downstream areas from excessive sedimentation and degradation of water quality.

Technical Abstract: The Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) is a set of mathematical equations used to estimated average annual rates of sheet and rill erosion. This type of erosion is produced by raindrop and runoff associated with intense rainfall. RUSLE is widely used throughout the world as a tool to assist in conservation planning. RUSLE computes an estimate of soil loss using values that represent how the four major factors (climate, soil, topography, and land use) affect sheet and rill erosion. The computed soil loss value is compared to a soil loss tolerance value. A conservation practice is assumed to be acceptable if the estimated soil loss for that practice is less than the soil los tolerance value. RUSLE is easy to use and uses data inputs that are easily obtained. A subfactor approach based on canopy, ground cover, surface roughness, buried biomass, and soil consolidation is a major feature of RUSLE. This approach allows RUSLE to be applied to an exceptional wide range of land use conditions. RUSLE has been implemented in the field offices of the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service throughout the United States. RUSLE is also widely used by other federal, state, and local government agencies and many private organizations as well.