Revista Brasileira de Engenharia Agrícola e Ambiental
Print version ISSN 1415-4366
TEN CATEN, Alexandre; MINELLA, Jean P. G. and MADRUGA, Pedro R. de A.. Disintensification of land use and its relation with soil erosion. Rev. bras. eng. agríc. ambient. [online]. 2012, vol.16, n.9, pp. 1006-1014. ISSN 1415-4366. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1415-43662012000900012.
Conservation of natural resources such as soil and water should be a concern of governments and institutions. Erosion processes are responsible for the degradation of these important resources in many parts of the globe. The aim of this study was to assess the land cover dynamics in a region of complex landscape and employ the modified universal soil loss equation (RUSLE) to quantify soil loss due to erosion. The land use in the district of Vale Veneto, São João do Polêsine in central region of Rio Grande do Sul, was evaluated in Landsat images of 1988, 2000 and 2007. The spatial and temporal analysis of the land use indicates that the forest areas had a 16.2% increase over the 19 years period. Areas under agriculture had a decrease of 57.5% over the same period. The gross erosion suffered a 44% reduction from 1988 to 2007. The study showed that land use disintensification leads to a more favorable configuration for soil conservation and erosion mitigation. It is believed that changes in land use are related to diminishing number of rural families who previously cultivated areas unsuitable for agriculture in this region.
Keywords : universal soil loss equation; geographic information systems; watershed.