Soil erosion prediction at the basin scale using the revised universal soil loss equation (RUSLE) in a catchment of Sicily (southern Italy)

Filippo Onori, Piero De Bonis, Sergio Grauso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

78 Citations (Scopus)


Soil erosion by water is a serious problem in southern Italy, particularly in Sicily which is one of the Italian administrative regions prone to desertification. Soil erosion not only affects soil quality, in terms of agricultural productivity, but also reduces the availability of water in reservoirs. This study was conducted in the Comunelli catchment in south-central Sicily, to predict potential annual soil loss using the revised universal soil loss equation (RUSLE) and to test the reliability of this methodology to predict reservoirs siltation. The RUSLE factors were calculated for the catchment using survey data and rain gauge measurement data. The R-factor was calculated from daily, monthly and annual precipitation data. The K-factor was calculated from soil samples collected in May and November 2004. The LS topographic factor was calculated from a 20 m digital elevation model. The C- and P-factors, in absence of detailed data, were set to 1. The results were compared with those obtained from another soil loss estimation method based on137Cs and with the soil loss estimated from the sediment volume stored in the Comunelli reservoir between 1968 and 2004. © Springer-Verlag 2006.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1129 - 1140
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Geology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2006
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Pollution
  • Soil Science

Cite this