IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Quantification of Erosion in Selected Catchment Areas of the Ruzizi River (DRC) Using the (R)USLE Model


  • Joachim Eisenberg

    () (Institute of Physical Geography, Geo-Center of the Goethe University Frankfurt, Altenhöferallee 1, 60438 Frankfurt am Main, Germany)

  • Fabrice A. Muvundja

    () (Unité d’Enseignement et de Recherche en Hydrobiologie Appliquée (UERHA), Institut Supérieur Pédagogique (ISP) de Bukavu, 32, Avenue Kibombo, Ibanda, B.P. 854 Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo
    Centre de Recherche en Environnement et Géoressources, Université Catholique de Bukavu (UCB), 2, Avenue de la Mission (Bugabo), B.P. 285 Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo)


Inappropriate land management leads to soil loss with destruction of the land’s resource and sediment input into the receiving river. Part of the sediment budget of a catchment is the estimation of soil loss. In the Ruzizi catchment in the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), only limited research has been conducted on soil loss mainly dealing with local observations on geomorphological forms or river load measurements; a regional quantification of soil loss is missing so far. Such quantifications can be calculated using the Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE). It is composed of four factors: precipitation (R), soil (K), topography (LS), and vegetation cover (C). The factors can be calculated in different ways according to the characteristics of the study area. In this paper, different approaches for calculating the single factors are reviewed and validated with field work in two sub-catchments of Ruzizi River supplying the water for the reservoirs of Ruzizi I and II hydroelectric dams. It became obvious that the (R)USLE model provides the best results with revised R and LS factors. C factor calculations required to conduct a supervised classification using the Maximum Likelihood Procedure. Different C factor values were assigned to the land cover classes. The calculations resulted in a soil loss rate for the predominantly occurring Ferralsols and Leptosols of around 576 kt/yr in both catchments, when 2016 landcover and precipitation are used. This represents an area-normalized value of 40.4 t/ha/yr for Ruzizi I and 50.5 t/ha/yr for Ruzizi II due to different landcover in the two sub-catchments. The mean value for the whole study area is 47.8 t/ha/yr or even 27.1 t/ha/yr when considering land management techniques like terracing on the slopes (P factor). This work has shown that the (R)USLE model can serve as an easy to handle tool for soil loss quantification when comprehensive field work results are sparse. The model can be implemented in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) with free data; hence, a validation is crucial. It becomes apparent that the use of high resolution Sentinel 2a MSI data as the basis for C factor calculations is an appropriate method for considering heterogeneous Land Use Land Cover (LULC) patterns. To transfer the approach to other regions, the calculation of factor R needs to be modified.

Suggested Citation

  • Joachim Eisenberg & Fabrice A. Muvundja, 2020. "Quantification of Erosion in Selected Catchment Areas of the Ruzizi River (DRC) Using the (R)USLE Model," Land, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(4), pages 1-18, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jlands:v:9:y:2020:i:4:p:125-:d:349276

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Tomislav Hengl & Jorge Mendes de Jesus & Gerard B M Heuvelink & Maria Ruiperez Gonzalez & Milan Kilibarda & Aleksandar Blagotić & Wei Shangguan & Marvin N Wright & Xiaoyuan Geng & Bernhard Bauer-Marsc, 2017. "SoilGrids250m: Global gridded soil information based on machine learning," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 12(2), pages 1-40, February.
    2. Tomislav Hengl & Gerard B M Heuvelink & Bas Kempen & Johan G B Leenaars & Markus G Walsh & Keith D Shepherd & Andrew Sila & Robert A MacMillan & Jorge Mendes de Jesus & Lulseged Tamene & Jérôme E Tond, 2015. "Mapping Soil Properties of Africa at 250 m Resolution: Random Forests Significantly Improve Current Predictions," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 10(6), pages 1-26, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Sabastine Ugbemuna Ugbaje & Thomas F.A. Bishop, 2020. "Hydrological Control of Vegetation Greenness Dynamics in Africa: A Multivariate Analysis Using Satellite Observed Soil Moisture, Terrestrial Water Storage and Precipitation," Land, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(1), pages 1-15, January.
    2. Berazneva, Julia & McBride, Linden & Sheahan, Megan & Guerena, David, 2016. "Perceived, measured, and estimated soil fertility in east Africa: Implications for farmers and researchers," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, Boston, Massachusetts 235466, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    3. Amintas Brandão Jr. & Lisa Rausch & América Paz Durán & Ciniro Costa Jr. & Seth A. Spawn & Holly K. Gibbs, 2020. "Estimating the Potential for Conservation and Farming in the Amazon and Cerrado under Four Policy Scenarios," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(3), pages 1-22, February.
    4. Dossou-Yovo, E. R. & Zwart, Sander J. & Kouyate, A. & Ouedraogo, I. & Bakare, O., 2019. "Predictors of drought in inland valley landscapes and enabling factors for rice farmers’ mitigation measures in the Sudan-Sahel Zone," Papers published in Journals (Open Access), International Water Management Institute, pages 11(1):1-17..
    5. Yang, Chenyao & Fraga, Helder & van Ieperen, Wim & Santos, João A., 2020. "Assessing the impacts of recent-past climatic constraints on potential wheat yield and adaptation options under Mediterranean climate in southern Portugal," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 182(C).
    6. Rurinda, Jairos & Zingore, Shamie & Jibrin, Jibrin M. & Balemi, Tesfaye & Masuki, Kenneth & Andersson, Jens A. & Pampolino, Mirasol F. & Mohammed, Ibrahim & Mutegi, James & Kamara, Alpha Y. & Vanlauwe, 2020. "Science-based decision support for formulating crop fertilizer recommendations in sub-Saharan Africa," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 180(C).
    7. Pengyao Qin & Bin Sun & Zengyuan Li & Zhihai Gao & Yifu Li & Ziyu Yan & Ting Gao, 2021. "Estimation of Grassland Carrying Capacity by Applying High Spatiotemporal Remote Sensing Techniques in Zhenglan Banner, Inner Mongolia, China," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 13(6), pages 1-20, March.
    8. Kibret, K. S. & Haileslassie, Amare & Mekuria Bori, Wolde & Schmitter, Petra, 2020. "Multicriteria decision-support system to assess the potential of exclosure-based conservation in Ethiopia," Papers published in Journals (Open Access), International Water Management Institute, pages 1-15.().
    9. Yanjiang Zhang & Qing Zhen & Pengfei Li & Yongxing Cui & Junwei Xin & Yuan Yuan & Zhuhua Wu & Xingchang Zhang, 2020. "Storage of Soil Organic Carbon and Its Spatial Variability in an Agro-Pastoral Ecotone of Northern China," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(6), pages 1-13, March.
    10. Andrew K. Marondedze & Brigitta Schütt, 2020. "Assessment of Soil Erosion Using the RUSLE Model for the Epworth District of the Harare Metropolitan Province, Zimbabwe," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(20), pages 1-24, October.
    11. Wan, Wei & Liu, Zhong & Li, Kejiang & Wang, Guiman & Wu, Hanqing & Wang, Qingyun, 2021. "Drought monitoring of the maize planting areas in Northeast and North China Plain," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 245(C).
    12. Ebrahim Jahanshiri & Nur Marahaini Mohd Nizar & Tengku Adhwa Syaherah Tengku Mohd Suhairi & Peter J. Gregory & Ayman Salama Mohamed & Eranga M. Wimalasiri & Sayed N. Azam-Ali, 2020. "A Land Evaluation Framework for Agricultural Diversification," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(8), pages 1-19, April.
    13. Meine van Noordwijk & Erika Speelman & Gert Jan Hofstede & Ai Farida & Ali Yansyah Abdurrahim & Andrew Miccolis & Arief Lukman Hakim & Charles Nduhiu Wamucii & Elisabeth Lagneaux & Federico Andreotti , 2020. "Sustainable Agroforestry Landscape Management: Changing the Game," Land, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(8), pages 1-38, July.
    14. Wu Xiao & Wenqi Chen & Tingting He & Linlin Ruan & Jiwang Guo, 2020. "Multi-Temporal Mapping of Soil Total Nitrogen Using Google Earth Engine across the Shandong Province of China," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(24), pages 1-20, December.
    15. Dany A. Cotrina Sánchez & Elgar Barboza Castillo & Nilton B. Rojas Briceño & Manuel Oliva & Cristóbal Torres Guzman & Carlos A. Amasifuen Guerra & Subhajit Bandopadhyay, 2020. "Distribution Models of Timber Species for Forest Conservation and Restoration in the Andean-Amazonian Landscape, North of Peru," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(19), pages 1-20, September.
    16. George Watene & Lijun Yu & Yueping Nie & Jianfeng Zhu & Thomas Ngigi & Jean de Dieu Nambajimana & Benson Kenduiywo, 2021. "Water Erosion Risk Assessment in the Kenya Great Rift Valley Region," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 13(2), pages 1-31, January.
    17. Carroll, Carlos & Ray, Justina, 2020. "Maximizing the effectiveness of national commitments to protected area expansion for conserving biodiversity and ecosystem carbon under climate change," SocArXiv snk95, Center for Open Science.
    18. Banerjee, Onil & Crossman, Neville & Vargas, Renato & Brander, Luke & Verburg, Peter & Cicowiez, Martin & Hauck, Jennifer & McKenzie, Emily, 2020. "Global socio-economic impacts of changes in natural capital and ecosystem services: State of play and new modeling approaches," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 46(C).
    19. Leroux, L. & Falconnier, G.N. & Diouf, A.A. & Ndao, B. & Gbodjo, J.E. & Tall, L. & Balde, A.A. & Clermont-Dauphin, C. & Bégué, A. & Affholder, F. & Roupsard, O., 2020. "Using remote sensing to assess the effect of trees on millet yield in complex parklands of Central Senegal," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 184(C).
    20. Jean Baptiste Nsengiyumva & Geping Luo & Egide Hakorimana & Richard Mind'je & Aboubakar Gasirabo & Valentine Mukanyandwi, 2019. "Comparative Analysis of Deterministic and Semiquantitative Approaches for Shallow Landslide Risk Modeling in Rwanda," Risk Analysis, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 39(11), pages 2576-2595, November.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:gam:jlands:v:9:y:2020:i:4:p:125-:d:349276. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (XML Conversion Team). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.