Region-Scaled Soil Erosion Assessment using USLE and WEPP in Korea

  • Kim, Min-Kyeong (Department of Agricultural Environment, National Academy of Agricultural Science, RDA) ;
  • Jung, Kang-Ho (Department of Agricultural Environment, National Academy of Agricultural Science, RDA) ;
  • Yun, Sun-Gang (Department of Agricultural Environment, National Academy of Agricultural Science, RDA) ;
  • Kim, Chul-Soo (Department of Civil Engineering, Kyungbuk National University)
  • Published : 2008.12.31


During the summer season, more than half of the annual precipitation in Korea occurs during the summer season due to the geographical location in the Asian monsoon belt. So, this causes severe soil erosion from croplands, which is directly linked to the deterioration of crop/land productivity and surface water quality. Therefore, much attention has been given to develop accurate estimation tools of soil erosion. The aim of this study is to assess the performance of using the empirical Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) and the physical-based model of the Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP) to quantify eroded amount of soil from agricultural fields. Input data files, including climate, soil, slope, and cropping management, were modified to fit into Korean conditions. Chuncheon (forest) and Jeonju (level-plain) were selected as two Korean cities with different topographic characteristics for model analysis. The results of this current study indicated that better soil erosion prediction can be achieved using the WEPP model since it has better power to illustrate a higher degree of spatial variability than USLE in topography, precipitation, soils, and crop management practices. These present findings are expected to contribute to the development of the environmental assessment program as well as the conservation of the agricultural environment in Korea.


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