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Using GIS to compare leading process and empirically based soil erosion models within headwater watersheds

Arkowitz, Alex (2017) Using GIS to compare leading process and empirically based soil erosion models within headwater watersheds. Masters thesis, Northern Arizona University.

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Changes in North American ponderosa pine ecosystems in relation to wildland fire severity are taking place due to human influence and the tools to asses these changes vary greatly. These fires alter the types of vegetation and cause severe erosion events, as well as make freshwater resources harder to manage in headwater watersheds. The purpose of this study is to analyze and investigate the differences of the two leading GIS based soil erosion models, the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) and the Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP). In particular, the models will be compared to address which one better predicts the state of two neighboring watersheds that endured the same high severity burn and flooding events. These watersheds reacted differently as noted by the streambed composition. Parameters were created using a land manager’s approach. The results of this study found that the process-based WEPP modeloutperforms the RUSLE model in its ability to assess post-burn flooding events through its ease of implementation and inclusion of climate and erosionprocesses in complex topography and therefore should be used by land managers interested in studying erosion events in similar circumstances.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Publisher’s Statement: © Copyright is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the Cline Library, Northern Arizona University. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Keywords: Flooding; Modeling; Ponderosa pine; RUSLE; Soil erosion; WEPP; GIS
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Student
Department/Unit: Graduate College > Theses and Dissertations
College of Social and Behavioral Science > Geography, Planning and Recreation
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2017 20:37
URI: http://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/4921

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