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Modelling of soil erosion with GIS: comparison of different models. Case Study: Chachoengcao Province (Thailand)

Vanessa HEYVAERT student laureate

°1979 Belgium
Licence in geography, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, 2001

Modelling of soil erosion with GIS: comparison of different models. Case Study: Chachoengcao Province (Thailand)

Soil erosion is a significant form of soil degradation, which contributes substantially to the problem of worldwide food scarcity.
Various factors are responsible for soil erosion. The physical geography of an area is of prime importance: climate, vegetation, gradients, soil condition (some soil types are more susceptible to erosion than others!). But Man also plays a role: certain agricultural practices lead to soil erosion. The big problem is that soil erosion, once started, is difficult to halt and causes irreversible damage, with disastrous consequences for the development in a certain area. Here prevention is definitely better than cure!
Modelling the susceptibility of an area to soil erosion is an important tool in planning a sustainable prevention policy. Models are usually created using research results obtained at the level of individual plots of land. This makes it difficult to gain a sense of the overall picture. GIS (Geographical Information Systems) offer a solution here: large quantities of information of a highly diverse nature (slope, precipitation, population pressure, soil type, crops, prior history, etc.) can be brought together in their spatial interrelationships. This often yields new insights which can be usefully applied in practice.
With this new methodology, the dynamic of soil erosion is modelled in a study area in the Chachoengcao Province in Thailand. Special attention is paid to the efficiency of the various soil conservation techniques and strategies for soil management which are already in use.
The study’s results are not just of academic importance, but also provide guidance to the staff at the Khao Hin Sorn Study Center, whose task it is to advise local farmers in their efforts to combat the increasing soil erosion, which is increasingly eating into the already meagre farming incomes.

report by Prof. Morgan De Dapper, Department of Geography, Universiteit Gent, Belgium