Soil loss risk and habitat quality in streams of a meso-scale river basin

Risco de perda de solo e qualidade do habitat numa bacia hidrográfica de meso-escala

Soil loss expectation and possible relationships among soil erosion, riparian vegetation and water quality were studied in the São José dos Dourados River basin, State of São Paulo, Brazil. Through Geographic Information System (GIS) resources and technology, Soil Loss Expectation (SLE) data obtained using the Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) model were analyzed. For the whole catchment area and for the 30 m buffer strips of the streams of 22 randomly selected catchments, the predominant land use and habitat quality were studied. Owing mainly to the high soil erodibility, the river basin is highly susceptible to erosive processes. Habitat quality analyses revealed that the superficial water from the catchments is not chemically impacted but suffers physical damage. A high chemical purity is observed since there are no urban areas along the catchments. The water is physically poor because of high rates of sediment delivery and the almost nonexistence of riparian vegetation.

erosion modeling; expectation of soil loss map; riparian vegetation; water quality

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