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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Ritchie, Jerry
item Walling, D
item Peters, J

Submitted to: Hydrological Processes
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/2002
Publication Date: 4/1/2003
Citation: Ritchie, J.C., Walling, D.E., Peters, J. 2003. Application of Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing for Quantifying Patterns of Erosion and Water Quality, Hydrological Processes. 17(5):885-886.

Interpretive Summary: This article introduces the 11 papers from an international workshop on the application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing tools for quantifying the spatial and temporal patterns of erosion and water quality across the landscape. Techniques for combining satellite and aircraft remotely sensed data with Digital Elevation Modelling (DEM) and ground data in a GIS are discussed to show ways to extend point data to field and regional scales. Case studies are provided to provide the participants with the sequence of events necessary to go from measurements to maps of soil loss and water quality. The 11 papers present a wide range of application of erosion and water quality modelling within the framework of GIS to estimate spatial patterns of erosion on the landscape and water quality in lake and reservoirs.

Technical Abstract: Within current concern for the problems of global change and the sustainable development of the global environment, the emphasis on climate change and global warming has tended to overshadow what some would see as the equally important problems associated with the progressive degradation of the global soil resource and the impact of increased sediment mobilization on fluvial systems and aquatic ecosystems. Recent assessments suggest that about 80 percent of the world's agricultural land suffers from moderate to severe erosion and that world-wide about 12 million ha of arable land are destroyed or abandoned annually as a result of non-sustainable farming practices. On the remaining eroding land, soil loss commonly leads to reduced productivity. Because of this erosion-induced loss of productivity and population growth, the global per capita food supply is currently declining. Recent developments in the application of remote sensing and GIS to the study of erosion and sediment delivery offer considerable potential for assessing erosion patterns and loss of soil productivity. This special issue of Hydrological Processes presents 11 papers on these new techniques and their application for erosion assessment.

Last Modified: 10/15/2017
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