Assessing soil erosion in Mediterranean karst landscapes of Lebanon using remote sensing and GIS


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Publication Date

January 2008


Maps showing the potential for soil erosion at 1:100,000 scale are produced in a study area within Lebanon that can be used for evaluating erosion of Mediterranean karstic terrain with two different sets of impact factors built into an erosion model. The first set of factors is: soil erodibility, morphology, land cover/use and rainfall erosivity. The second is obtained by the first adding a fifth factor, rock infiltration. High infiltration can reflect high recharge, therefore decreasing the potential of surface runoff and hence the quantity of transported materials. Infiltration is derived as a function of lithology, lineament density, karstification and drainage density, all of which can be easily extracted from satellite imagery. The influence of these factors is assessed by a weight/rate approach sharing similarities between quantitative and qualitative methods and depending on pair-wise comparison matrix. The main outcome was the production of factorial maps and erosion susceptibility maps (scale 1:100,000). Spatial and attribute comparison of erosion maps indicates that the model that includes a measure of rock infiltration better represents erosion potential. Field investigation of rills and gullies shows 87.5% precision of the model with rock infiltration. This is 17.5% greater than the precision of the model without rock infiltration. These results indicate the necessity and importance of integrating information on infiltration of rock outcrops to assess soil erosion in Mediterranean karst landscapes.


Karst Environments, Erosion Modeling, Gis, Remote Sensing, Rock Infiltration