Target research of this dissertation was the development of an erosion and soil erosion
risk model for usage in semiarid to semihumid developing countries. The newly designed
model is named DESER (Determination of Erosion and Soil Erosion Risk). It is of conceptual
character, since empirical and physically based input parameters are utilised.
The study area for developing this model is the watershed of the Bilate River that is
located in the southern Ethiopian Rift Valley and partially on the Western Ethiopian
Highlands. The watershed extends approximately 5,500 km² and high landscape variability
demands a differentiation of the watershed into three geomorphological units (Western
Ethiopian Highlands, Valleys and Basin and Rift Valley), in order to allow the assessment of
erosion and soil erosion damages. These damages were utilised for calibrating and validating
the models. Therefore eight selected study areas were selected across the watershed.
The input data of the model were raw data, such as climate data from agencies as well
as soil and ground data from FAO, or data and its derivatives obtained from satellite or SRTM
data sets. Least, some data were utilised to design special input parameters, such as a rainfall
intensity index, since such data were not available for the research area. The models main
advantage is the use of only eleven input parameters, which are easy to record, assess and
derive especially in developing countries, where data availability is in general poor. Output
of the model is a gridded dataset, qualitatively displaying the erosion and soil erosion risk in
13 classes from no risk to severe risk.
The model DESER performs satisfactory and thus, the model can be successfully
implemented in semiarid to semihumid developing countries. Extensions for further
questionnaires can be easily designed and applied.
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