Soil erosion is the most common type of land degradation, and it has become a global environmental issue that reduces soil productivity and water quality and is accelerated by human-induced activities. The Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) model, which includes factors like rainfall, soil, land-cover, cultivation practices, and slope, was incorporated into the GIS database to estimate average annual soil erosion rates in the Nagavali River basin (NRB) during 1990 and 2020, and this study also focuses on analyzing the impact of the land-use and land-cover (LULC) change, as well as climate variability on the annual average soil erosion rates in the NRB. Results indicate that the average annual soil erosion rate in the NRB ranged from 0 to 2,364.46 t/ha/yr in the year 1990 was increased to 7,857.21 t/ha/yr by the year 2020 as a result of an increase in rainfall and LULC changes over the study period. Based on the spatial distribution of soil erosion risk classes, it was identified that the area under the very severe erosion class increased drastically from 4.34 to 13.97%, while the area under the very slight erosion class got decreased between the years 1990 and 2020. Accordingly, a correlation analysis was carried out to determine the spatial correlation between the soil erosion pattern and changes in driver variables such as rainfall and land-use classes. These findings can be used to make well-informed decisions at the local and regional levels for the sake of soil conservation.

  • Significant land-use land-cover change is observed in the Nagavali River basin.

  • Increase in soil erosion is observed over the past three decades.

  • It explains the development of a modified RUSLE (Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation) model for identifying the soil erosion hotspots.

  • It explains attribution studies for change in the soil erosion pattern.

Graphical Abstract

Graphical Abstract
Graphical Abstract
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