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Assessment of Soil Loss in the Mirabah Basin: An Overview of the Potential of Agricultural Terraces as Ancestral Practices (Saudi Arabia)

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Document pages: 22 pages

Abstract: Water erosion remains the major problem in many countries, especially those with an extension in the arid and semi-arid area and those marked by a long dry season. The intensification of land degradation which is a result of the strong erosive dynamics on a global scale has stimulated the initiative of multidisciplinary researchers investigate the issue of water erosion from its various facets [1] [2]. The goal is to preserve water and soil, two resources threatened. Multiple attempts were made to diagnose and implement empirical and experimental methods for quantitative estimation of soil loss caused by diffuse erosion. Indeed, the Eastern slope of the high mountains of Asir (Saudi Arabia), formerly worn and cut by the depression of rivers and undeniable branching of the river system, deserves to be studied in detail given the release of a huge erosive potential that is responsible for soil losses that are increasing gradually and continuously. The purpose of this paper was to validate the suitability of agricultural terraces in terms of soil preservation, using the results of the soil loss application as an indicator of the state of function of these latter. Many studies have addressed the agricultural terraces, however, only a few of them have focused on the relationship between erosion and agricultural terraces through an experimental approach. Previous work has concentrated mainly on their socio-economic impact; whilst the knowledge of their environmental impact remained scarce. In terms of the climate change context, soil erosion is becoming a central problem in Asir region. Thus, in this way, the application of the universal equation of soil loss was very helpful to explain and predict the role of each factor. Nevertheless, extreme caution and great care must be taken because of the application of this model outside its frame.

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