A GIS-based estimation of soil erosion parameters for soil loss potential and erosion hazard in the city of Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo
Soil erosion has detrimental impacts on socio economic life, thus increasing poverty. This situation is aggravated by poor planning and lack of infrastructure especially in developing countries. In these countries, efforts to planning are challenged by lack of data. Alternative approaches that use remote sensing and geographical information systems are therefore needed to provide decision makers with the so much needed information for planning purposes. This helps to curb the detrimental impacts of soil erosion, mostly emanating from varied land use conditions. This study was carried out in the city of Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo with the aim of using alternative sources of data, based on earth observation resources, to determine the spatial distribution of soil loss and erosion hazard in the city of Kinshasa. A combined approach based on remote sensing skills and rational equation of soil erosion estimation was used. Soil erosion factors, including rainfall-runoff erosivity R), soil erodibility ( K), slope steepness and length ( SL), crop/vegetation and management ( C) were calculated for the city of Kinshasa. Results show that soil loss in Kinshasa ranges from 0 to 20 t ha −1 yr −1. Most of the south part of the urban area were prone to erosion. From the total area of Kinshasa (996 500 ha), 25 013 ha (2.3 %) is of very high ( > 15 t ha −1 yr −1) risk of soil erosion. Urban areas consist of 4.3 % of the area with very high ( > 15 t ha −1 yr −1) risk of soil erosion compared to a very high risk of 2.3 % ( > 15 t ha −1 yr −1) in the rural area. The study shows that the soil loss in the study area is mostly driven by slope, elevation, and informal settlements.