Evaluation of soil erosion rates in the southern half of the Russian Plain: methodology and initial results
- 1Kazan Federal University, Kremlyovskaya St. 18, Kazan, 420008, Russia
- 2Lomonosov Moscow State University, Leninskie Gory, 1, Moscow, 119991, Russia
Abstract. The Russian Plain (RP) is divided into two principally different parts. The northern half of the RP is a predominantly forested area with a low proportion of arable fields. In contrast, the southern half of the RP has a very high proportion of arable land. During the last 30 years, this agricultural region of the RP has experienced considerable land use transformation and changes in precipitation due to climate change have altered soil erosion rates. This paper describes the use of erosion model calculations and GIS spatial analytical methods for the evaluation of trends in erosion rates in the RP. Climate change (RIHMI World Data Center, 2016), land use transformation and crop rotation modification (Rosstat, 2016; R Core Team, 2016) are the main factors governing erosion rates in the region during recent decades. It was determined that mean annual erosion rates have decreased from 7.3 to 4.1 t ha−1 yr−1 in the forest zone mostly because of the serious reduction in the surface runoff coefficient for periods of snowmelt. At the same time, the erosion rates have increased from 3.9 to 4.6 t ha−1 yr−1 in the steppe zone due to the increasing frequency of heavy rain-storms.