AIMS Geosciences, 2016, 2(4): 345-365. doi: 10.3934/geosci.2016.4.345

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Soil Loss Vulnerability in an Agricultural Catchment in the Atlantic Forest Biome in Southern Brazil

Environmental Engineering Department, Regional University of Blumenau (FURB), 89030-000, Blumenau, Santa Catarina, Brazil

This study estimates soil loss vulnerability using field samples and spatial data in a 30 km² area in the Atlantic forest biome in southern Brazil. The anthropogenic part of the landscape consists mainly of small agricultural properties. Soil loss vulnerability was calculated using adaptations of the universal soil loss equation. The results were compared to sediment data collected during field surveys. Spatial analysis was performed using a geographical information system (GIS) and fine resolution data (1 m). Both field and spatial analyses produced similar results, 5.390 tons of soil loss per year using field data and 5.691 tons per year using GIS. Using soil loss and sediment data related to the Concordia River, we estimate that of all the exported sediment 25% of the lost soil reaches the river. These data are an effective source of information for municipal administrators of the region, which consists of small agricultural catchments (dominated by small properties) that comprise the regional economy. A thematic map was used to determine sub-drainage priority as information for public managers.
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