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Western Ghat soil erosion increases by 94%: IIT Bombay

Utkarsh Classes 17-11-2023
Western Ghat soil erosion increases by 94%: IIT Bombay Environment 4 min read

Tamil Nadu performed the worst, with a soil loss rate of 121% from 1990 to 2020. According to a research conducted by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, soil erosion in the Western Ghats Region (WGR) rose by 94% between 1990 and 2020. 

Western Ghats

  • The Western Ghats, also known as the Sahyadri Hills, are famous for their diverse and unusual flora and wildlife.
  • In northern Maharashtra, the range is known as Sahyadri, while in Kerala, it is known as Sahya Parvatham.
  • The Konkan Coast is the northern section of the narrow coastal plain between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea.
  • The middle region is known as Kanara, and the southern section is known as the Malabar region or the Malabar Coast.
  • The Maharashtra foothill region east of the Ghats is known as Desh, whereas the eastern foothills of central Karnataka state are known as Malenadu.

About Western Ghats Region (WGR) 

  • The Western Ghats Region (WGR) is a distinctive landscape that stretches from Gujarat's south to Kerala and Tamil Nadu. 
  • It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the 36 biodiversity hotspots on the planet. 
  • The innovative study employed remote sensing data to calculate long-term soil losses over the whole WGR. 


 

Key facts from IIT study

  • Soil erosion in the Western Ghats Region (WGR) rose by 94% between 1990 and 2020. 
  • This is a "detrimental" inclination in a region noted for its biodiversity. 
  • Tamil Nadu- The worst with the highest soil loss rate of 121 per cent from 1990 to 2020.
  • Kerala- It had a net increasing trend in soil losses at 90 per cent
  • Karnataka- It showed an increase of 56 per cent

Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE)

  • The Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) approach was employed by the researchers to get quantitative estimates of soil loss.
  • The primary elements considered by USLE include rainfall, topography, soil erodibility, land cover management, and current conservation practices. 
  • The use of USLE for the WGR was innovative, and it is possible that this was the first time such an evaluation was performed at this magnitude.
  • For the years 1990, 2000, 2010, and 2020, the average annual soil loss for the area was 32.3, 46.2, 50.2, and 62.7 tonnes per hectare, respectively.

 

FAQ

Answer. The Western Ghats is also known as the Sahyadri Hills,

Answer. The Western Ghats Region (WGR) is a distinctive landscape that stretches from Gujarat's south to Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Answer. Tamil Nadu performed the worst according to the IIT study with a soil loss rate of 121% from 1990 to 2020.

Answer. The Maharashtra foothill region east of the Western Ghats is known as Desh.

Answer. The Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) is the approach employed by the researchers to get quantitative estimates of soil loss.
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