Assessing soil erosion hazards using land-use change and landslide frequency ratio method: A case study of Sabaragamuwa province, Sri Lanka

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Remote Sensing, 2020, 12, (9)
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© 2020 by the authors. This study aims to identify the vulnerable landscape areas using landslide frequency ratio and land-use change associated soil erosion hazard by employing geo-informatics techniques and the revised universal soil loss equation (RUSLE) model. Required datasets were collected from multiple sources, such as multi-temporal Landsat images, soil data, rainfall data, land-use land-cover (LULC) maps, topographic maps, and details of the past landslide incidents. Landsat satellite images from 2000, 2010, and 2019 were used to assess the land-use change. Geospatial input data on rainfall, soil type, terrain characteristics, and land cover were employed for soil erosion hazard classification and mapping. Landscape vulnerability was examined on the basis of land-use change, erosion hazard class, and landslide frequency ratio. Then the erodible hazard areas were identified and prioritized at the scale of river distribution zones. The image analysis of Sabaragamuwa Province in Sri Lanka from 2000 to 2019 indicates a significant increase in cropping areas (17.96%) and urban areas (3.07%), whereas less dense forest and dense forest coverage are significantly reduced (14.18% and 6.46%, respectively). The average annual soil erosion rate increased from 14.56 to 15.53 t/ha/year from year 2000 to 2019. The highest landslide frequency ratios are found in the less dense forest area and cropping area, and were identified as more prone to future landslides. The river distribution zones Athtanagalu Oya (A-2), Kalani River-south (A-3), and Kalani River-north (A-9), were identified as immediate priority areas for soil conservation.
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