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Article

Temporal Influences of Vegetation Cover (C) Dynamism on MUSLE Sediment Yield Estimates: NDVI Evaluation

Institute for Water Research, Rhodes University, P.O. Box 94, Makhanda 6140, Eastern Cape, South Africa
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Academic Editor: Maria Mimikou
Water 2021, 13(19), 2707; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13192707
Received: 30 August 2021 / Revised: 17 September 2021 / Accepted: 20 September 2021 / Published: 29 September 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modelling of Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion and Sediment Transport)
Vegetation cover is an important factor controlling erosion and sediment yield. Therefore, its effect is accounted for in both experimental and modelling studies of erosion and sediment yield. Numerous studies have been conducted to account for the effects of vegetation cover on erosion across spatial scales; however, little has been conducted across temporal scales. This study investigates changes in vegetation cover across multiple temporal scales in Eastern Cape, South Africa and how this affects erosion and sediment yield modelling in the Tsitsa River catchment. Earth observation analysis and sediment yield modelling are integrated within this study. Landsat 8 imagery was processed, and Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) values were extracted and applied to parameterise the Modified Universal Soil Loss Equation (MUSLE) vegetation (C) factor. Imagery data from 2013–2018 were analysed for an inter-annual trend based on reference summer (March) images, while monthly imagery for the years 2016–2017 was analysed for intra-annual trends. The results indicate that the C exhibits more variation across the monthly timescale than the yearly timescale. Therefore, using a single month to represent the annual C factor increases uncertainty. The modelling shows that accounting for temporal variations in vegetation cover reduces cumulative simulated sediment by up to 85% across the inter-annual and 30% for the intra-annual scale. Validation with observed data confirmed that accounting for temporal variations brought cumulative sediment outputs closer to observations. Over-simulations are high in late autumn and early summer, when estimated C values are high. Accordingly, uncertainties are high in winter when low NDVI leads to high C, whereas dry organic matter provides some protection from erosion. The results of this study highlight the need to account for temporal variations in vegetation cover in sediment yield estimation but indicate the uncertainties associated with using NDVI to estimate C factor. View Full-Text
Keywords: MUSLE; sediment yield; erosion; C factor; Tsitsa River MUSLE; sediment yield; erosion; C factor; Tsitsa River
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MDPI and ACS Style

Gwapedza, D.; Hughes, D.A.; Slaughter, A.R.; Mantel, S.K. Temporal Influences of Vegetation Cover (C) Dynamism on MUSLE Sediment Yield Estimates: NDVI Evaluation. Water 2021, 13, 2707. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13192707

AMA Style

Gwapedza D, Hughes DA, Slaughter AR, Mantel SK. Temporal Influences of Vegetation Cover (C) Dynamism on MUSLE Sediment Yield Estimates: NDVI Evaluation. Water. 2021; 13(19):2707. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13192707

Chicago/Turabian Style

Gwapedza, David, Denis A. Hughes, Andrew R. Slaughter, and Sukhmani K. Mantel. 2021. "Temporal Influences of Vegetation Cover (C) Dynamism on MUSLE Sediment Yield Estimates: NDVI Evaluation" Water 13, no. 19: 2707. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13192707

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