USLE/RUSLE K-factors allocated through a linear mixed model for Uruguayan soils

Andrés Beretta-Blanco, Leonidas Carrasco-Letelier


Soil erosion by rainfall is a process that demands management, both for the prevention of excessive soil erosion and for the protection of the quality of freshwater bodies. Erosion coefficients (K-factors) of the universal soil loss equation (USLE)/revised USLE (RUSLE) model were assigned to 99 mapped Uruguayan soil types at 1:1,000,000 scale. This work developed a linear mixed model (LMM) with 79 soils with assigned K-factors, in which the following variables were considered: soil taxonomy, chemical composition, and parent material. The developed LMM had an R2=0.86, in which the soil taxonomy (p<0.0001), parent material (p=0.0174), clay (p=0.0005) and sand (p=0.017) contents had significant statistical effects. The prediction capacity of this model was assessed with 10 soils not previously used in development of the LMM with assigned K-factors. The prediction assessment had an R2=0.84 and a mean error of 9.08% of the mean K-factor value. The LMM developed was used for the allocation of K-factors to soils mapped at a 1:20,000-resolution. Thus, the use of LMM increased the soil area with assigned K-factors from 111,822 km2 (at a scale of 1:1,000,000) to 174,132 km2 (1:20,000).


soil classification, parent material, soil texture, soil chemistry

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