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Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation 2 - RUSLE2 Documentation
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RUSLE2 Documentation

RUSLE2 documentation, including a detailed Reference User Guide and Scientific Description, were developed to support he 2008 version of RUSLE2.  Progress made in the 2010 and 2014 releases is documented separately.

Changes made in 2014

Changes made in 2010 


Overview information is available from the University of Tennessee and from the USDA-NRCS at

Reference User Guide:

A draft in-depth User's Reference Guide in semi-technical terms that describes RUSLE2, how RUSLE2 makes its computations, how to select input values, and how to interpret output values is currently being drafted. A partially complete draft copy of this user guide is available for download at this Internet Site.  User's Reference Guide

Scientific Documentation:

A draft scientific documentation of RUSLE2 that describes the equations used to make RUSLE2 computations is available on this Internet site Science Documentation RUSLE2

HELP Information:

The RUSLE2 program contains HELP information for each variable available with the configuration of RUSLE2 that is downloaded from this site. Information in the Summary User Manual available for download from this Internet site describes how to find HELP within the RUSLE2 program.


Computer Documentation:


Documentation of the computer science and programming can be obtained by contacting Daniel Yoder, University of Tennessee (

RUSLE2 Database:

When RUSLE2 is downloaded from this website, the included database is called "mose 2014.gdb." The main purpose of this ARS database is to illustrate values for representative situations. It can be used as a guide to develop and enter values in your database.

RUSLE2 users are strongly urged to download data from the NRCS national RUSLE2 database contact the NRCS State Agronomist in your state for database information. The NRCS national RUSLE2 database is extensive, consistent with the RUSLE2 core database, and has been reviewed for accuracy and consistency.  To import NRCS management databases, which are organized into Cropland Management Zones (CMZs) into an ARS database requires to steps.  First the CMZ must be imported into the NRCS Base database (, and then the CMZ data must be imported from the modified base database into the ARS database using the "include all dependent files" option checked.  This two step process is needed because all the NRCS vegetation and operation descriptions are located in the NRCS base database and are not included in the individual CMZ databases. 

Other Helpful Documents:

RUSLE2 builds on the USLE and RUSLE1 erosion-prediction technology previously developed by the USDA-ARS and its cooperators. The USDA-Agriculture Handbook (AH) 703 documents RUSLE1 in detail through version 1.05. Much of the information in AH703 is generally applicable to RUSLE2 in principle, but nothing more. While RUSLE2 is similar to RUSLE1, RUSLE2 is actually new erosion-prediction technology.

The USDA AH703 is available electronically in Acrobat? PDF form from the link below. Included in the electronic AH703 is an updated Fig. 6-2 and an errata sheet.

The USLE was first implemented by the USDA-Soil Conservation Service (now Natural Resources Conservation Service) in the early 1960's. AH282, published in 1965, documents the USLE at that time. The USLE has evolved through time and its application has greatly expanded from that in the early 1960's. AH537, published in 1978, documents the USLE as ARS recommended it be used in the late 1970's and early 1980's.

AH 537 and AH 282 are available electronically in Acrobat? PDF form from the link below.

USDA-Agriculture Handbook (AH) 703 (17MB)

USDA-Agriculture Handbook (AH) 537 (9MB)

USDA-Agriculture Handbook (AH) 282 (6.3MB)

A guide for predicting sheet and rill erosion on forest land. Technical Publication SA-TP-11. USDA-Forest Service-State and Private Forestry- Southeastern Area. 40 pp. Dissmeyer, G. E. and G. R. Foster. 1980.

Changes to RUSLE2 from the RUSLE2 ARS Version December 2, 2003 to the RUSLE2 ARS Version January 19, 2005


A manual entitled Use of the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE1) Mined Lands, Construction Sites, and Reclaimed Lands is available from the USDI-Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation, and Regulation that provides information concerning application of RUSLE1.06 to mining, construction, and reclamation sites. The download site for this manual is For additional information, contact Joe R. Galetovic, Office of Surface Mining, While this manual, known as the OSM RUSLE1.06 manual is for RUSLE1.06, not 1.06c, it will be very helpful in applying RUSLE2 to disturbed lands.

An important reference manual for applying the USLE to disturbed forestlands is: Dissmeyer, G.E. and G.R. Foster. 1980. A guide for predicting sheet and rill erosion on forest land. Technical Publication SA-TP-11. USDA-Forest Service-State and Private Forestry-Southeastern Area. 40 pp. (Technical report). This manual is helpful in applying RUSLE2 to disturbed forestlands.