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Spatial-Temporal Dynamics of the Ephemeral Gully Belt on the Plowed Slopes of River Basins in Natural and Anthropogenic Landscapes of the East of the Russian Plain

Institute of Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Department of the Landscape Ecology, Kazan Federal University, Kazan 420008, Russia
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Geosciences 2020, 10(5), 167; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences10050167
Received: 23 March 2020 / Revised: 27 April 2020 / Accepted: 30 April 2020 / Published: 6 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geography and Geoecology of Rivers and River Basins)
Erosion is the leading process of soil degradation on agricultural land. In the spectrum of erosion processes, the most unfavorable for soil degradation are the processes of linear (ephemeral and gully) erosion. An assessment of the dynamics of linear erosion in the intensive farming zone of the European part of Russia (EPR) is relevant due to the lack of generalized data on the development of this type of erosion in the post-Soviet period and also, due to the highest intensity of soil erosion in the ephemeral gully erosion. The development of information technologies and the availability of high-resolution and ultra-high-resolution satellite images make it possible to solve the problems of ephemeral gully erosion belts identification, and also makes it possible to trace the dynamics of development of stream erosion on arable lands over a period characterized by the greatest changes in the climate system and economic conditions in the post-Soviet period (1980s–2010s). The study was conducted on the eastern wing of the boreal ecotone of the Russian Plain within the southern border of these zones of mixed and broad-leaved forests, forest-steppe, and steppe landscapes using the basin approach. For the initial material, satellite images of medium (30 m) and high resolution (0.5–1.5 m) were used in the work. The study used methods of image interpretation such as remote sensing of the earth and geoinformation mapping. For 70 key areas (interfluve spaces of river basins), the study developed a method of geoinformation mapping of the ephemeral gully erosion belt dynamics on arable lands. In the same way, the research developed a system of quantitative indicators characterizing its development on arable slopes. The dynamics of ephemeral gully erosion was evaluated over three-time intervals: the 1980s, 2000s, and 2010s by determining the horizontal dissection (density) and density of ephemeral gully erosion. Over the past 30 years, in the direction from the south of the forest sub-zone to the forest-steppe and steppe landscapes, there was a sharp increase in the horizontal dissection and density of the ephemeral gully network: an average of 4.6 and 10 times, respectively. The ephemeral gully erosion belt advances toward the watershed because of the formation of new erosion in the upper parts of the ephemeral gully networks and its extension, while there is a noticeable reduction in the width of the erosion-weakly active belt-sheet and rill erosion. View Full-Text
Keywords: erosion; satellite imagery; GIS; ephemeral gully erosion; dynamics; erosion belts erosion; satellite imagery; GIS; ephemeral gully erosion; dynamics; erosion belts
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Yermolayev, O.; Platoncheva, E.; Essuman-Quainoo, B. Spatial-Temporal Dynamics of the Ephemeral Gully Belt on the Plowed Slopes of River Basins in Natural and Anthropogenic Landscapes of the East of the Russian Plain. Geosciences 2020, 10, 167.

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