Estimation of potential soil erosion reduction using GIS-based RUSLE under different land cover management models: A case study of Pale Municipality, B&H

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Xi’an Jiaotong University, China
Spatial assessment of soil erosion is an important indicator of ecological soil change and global environmental changes. This is especially true for countries with rich forest cover such as Bosnia and Herzegovina. In this study, the risk of soil erosion was assessed using the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) model and the impact of changes in the forest ecosystem, current conditions were compared with possible future forest management scenarios, and measures and solutions were proposed to reduce soil erodibility in vulnerable areas of the Pale Municipality in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The studied area is at increased risk of soil erosion due to natural conditions (mountain relief, climate change, and the frequency of extreme climatic events—drought and heavy rains, which occur more and more frequently in a short period of time) and due to anthropogenic factors, such as large-scale deforestation and conversion of mountain areas for tourism purposes, tracing and construction of ski slopes and ski resorts in general, and expansion of settlements. All this leads to threats to water conservation areas, landslides, floods, forest fires, and additional reduction of forest areas due to drying of forests and expansion of settlements. GIS as a tool provides us with a quick and accurate way to find possible solutions to problems resulting from the intensive use and inadequate monitoring. In this study, we have tried to offer possible solutions and show the benefits that can be obtained by varying the factors that affect soil erodibility and depend on vegetation cover, that is, land use (C-factor). This study presents the application of RUSLE methods in combination with GIS for the purpose of planning economic activities, such as winter tourism development in the community of Pale. An increase in soil loss due to inappropriate land use was found, with the average annual soil loss due to deforestation in the ski area increasing to 909.43 t ha−1 year−1.
Кључне речи
erosion potential, Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE), C-factor, GIS, Pale Municipality