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Tropics most prone to soil erosion

Regions in the tropical climate zones suffer the greatest rainfall-related soil erosion, reports an international study.

  • First-ever global soil erosivity map shows regional differences
  • Tropical zones most vulnerable to rainfall-related soil erosion
  • Increase expected with changing climate and more frequent extreme rainfall

The study, published last month (July) in Scientific Reports, has developed the first-ever Global Rainfall Erosivity Database and a Global Erosivity Map. It notes that while rainfall provides moisture critical for plant growth, it is also one of the prime causes of soil degradation, referred to as rainfall erosivity, which threatens food and water sustainability.
For experts, model predictions of global erosivity are very important because they help assess risks as well as plan and implement effective soil mitigation and restoration strategies.

According to the study, erosion by rainfall remains poorly quantified despite its significance. This is because it is a complex event influenced by various factors including rainfall intensity, duration, amount and frequency — factors which are not captured in current erosivity estimates.

Global Erosivity Map Adapted from original in Scientific Reports

Erosivity map