Spatial and temporal evaluation of soil erosion in Turkey under climate change scenarios using the Pan-European Soil Erosion Risk Assessment (PESERA) model

Berberoğlu S. , Çilek A. , Kirkby M., Irvine B., Dönmez C.

ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING AND ASSESSMENT, vol.192, 2020 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 192
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s10661-020-08429-5


The impacts of climate change on soil erosion are mainly caused by the changes in the amount and intensity of rainfall and rising temperature. The combination of rainfall and temperature change is likely to be accompanied by negative or positive variations in agricultural and forest management. Turkey contains vast fertile plains, high mountain chains and semi-arid lands, with a climate that ranges from marine to continental and therefore is susceptible to soil erosion under climate change, particularly on high gradients and in semi-arid areas. This study aims to model the soil erosion risk under climate change scenarios in Turkey using the Pan-European Soil Erosion Assessment (PESERA) model, predicting the likely effects of land use/cover and climate change on sediment transport and soil erosion in the country. For this purpose, PESERA was applied to estimate the monthly and annual soil loss for 12 land use/cover types in Turkey. The model inputs included 128 variables derived from soil, climate, land use/cover and topography data. The total soil loss from the land surface is speculated to be approximately 285.5 million tonnes per year. According to the IPCC 5th Assessment Report of four climate change scenarios, the total soil losses were predicted as 308.9, 323.5, 320.3 and 355.3 million tonnes for RCP2.6, RCP4.5, RCP6.0 and RCP8.5 scenarios respectively from 2060 to 2080. The predicted amounts of fertile soil loss from agricultural land in a year were predicted to be 55.5 million tonnes at present, and 62.7, 59.9, 61.7 and 58.1 under RCP2.6, RCP4.5, RCP6.0 and RCP8.5 respectively. This confirms that approximately 30% of the total erosion occurs over the agricultural lands. In this respect, degraded forests, scrub and arable lands were subjected to the highest erosion rate (68%) of the total, whereas, fruit trees and berry plantations reflected the lowest erosion rates. Low soil organic carbon, sparse vegetation cover and variable climatic conditions significantly enhanced the erosion of the cultivated lands by primarily removing the potential food for organisms. Finally, process-based models offer a valuable resource for decision-makers when improving environmental management schemes and also decrease uncertainty when considering risks.