Articles | Volume 6, issue 4
Research article
30 Nov 2015
Research article |  | 30 Nov 2015

Identification of areas vulnerable to soil erosion risk in India using GIS methods

H. Biswas, A. Raizada, D. Mandal, S. Kumar, S. Srinivas, and P. K. Mishra

Abstract. This paper attempts to provide information for policymakers and soil conservation planners in the form of district-wise soil erosion risk (SER) maps prepared for the state of Telangana, India. The SER values for each district were computed by extracting the information on grid-wise soil erosion and soil loss tolerance limit values existing on the country-scale in a GIS environment. The objectives of the study were to (i) identify the areas of the state with a high erosion risk, and (ii) identify areas with an urgent need of conservation measures. The results reveal that around 69 % of the state has a negligible risk of soil erosion above the tolerance limits, and does not call for immediate soil conservation measures. The remaining area (2.17 M ha) requires conservation planning. Four districts, viz. Adilabad, Warangal, Khammam, and Karimnagar are the most risk-prone with more than one-quarter of their total geographical areas showing net positive SER values. In order to obtain a clearer picture and categorize the districts based on their extent of vulnerability, weighted erosion risk values were computed. Adilabad, Warangal, and Khammam were identified as the worst-affected districts in terms of soil erosion, and therefore are in need of immediate attention of natural resource conservation.

Short summary
The paper presents a simple and novel approach to prioritize districts (or subregions) of a state (or region) for implementing soil conservation measures through computation of weighted soil erosion risk (WSER), by deducting soil loss tolerance limit values from soil erosion rates. WSER values obtained for the districts of Telangana state, India, led us to identify Adilabad, Warangal, and Khammam as the districts calling for the urgent attention of policymakers for natural resource conservation.