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Methodology of land degradation mapping applied to mountain areas: case of the Mebtouh River Watershed - Béni Chougrane (Algeria)

L. Zerkaoui, M. Benslimane, A. Hamimed, N. Bouabsa


Water erosion is a very serious phenomenon in Algeria that has a severe impact on the land heritage. It affects 45% of the tellien areas or 12 million hectares of cultivable land. This phenomenon becomes even more serious if we know that 85% of cropland is located in the areas most susceptible to erosion. Analysis of erosion processes is of considerable interest in optimal and sustainable land use. It is to highlight soil erosion processes with a view to implementing for the identification and understanding of the current dynamics of watershed weathering and its perverse effects on the sustainable development of our territories.

The proposed approach involves modelling certain key parameters, including precipitation aggression, soil erosion, slope tilting, vegetation cover and anthropogenic action to combat this phenomenon. The Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) model was chosen to quantify and spatialize water erosion processes.

The objective of this study is to develop a methodology for understanding the hydrodynamic behaviour of water and soils in general and monitoring the progression of this insidious phenomenon at a watershed area. To do this, we used a mapping game using a geographic information system (GIS) for a pilot site is the Mebtouh River watershed (north-west Algeria). The approach is to highlight soil structure, land use and water transfers and their effects on soil degradation.


Water erosion, mapping, soil degradation, GIS, Mebtouh River.

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