The main purpose of this study is to propose a methodology for identifying vulnerable regions in the Cameron Highlands that are susceptible to soil loss, based on runoff aggregation structure and the energy expenditure pattern of the natural river basin, within the framework of power law distribution. To this end, three geomorphologic factors, namely shear stress and stream power, as well as the drainage area of every point in the basin of interest, have been extracted using GIS, and then their complementary cumulative distributions are graphically analyzed by fitting them to power law distribution, with the purpose of identifying the sensitive points within the basin that are susceptible to soil loss with respect to scaling regimes of shear stress and stream power. It is observed that the range of vulnerable regions by the scaling regime of shear stress is much narrower than by the scaling regime of stream power. This result seems to suggest that shear stress is a scale-dependent factor, which does not follow power law distribution and does not adequately reflect the energy expenditure pattern of a river basin. Therefore, stream power is preferred as a more reasonable factor for the evaluation of soil loss. The methodology proposed in this study can be validated by visualizing the path of soil loss, which is generated from the hillslope process (characterized by the local slope) to the valley through a fluvial process (characterized by the drainage area as well as the local slope).
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited