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Erosion control... but for agricultural productivity (not reservoir maintenance or water quality)

jellisojelliso Member
edited February 2015 in RIOS
I am working on a catchment in Ethiopia where erosion is impacting agricultural production in a major way- due to the loss of nutrients and as well as a growing medium on shallow, steep upslope farmland. 

RIOS' two erosion objectives target "drinking water quality" and "reservoir maintenance" but these are not major concerns in the area. 

My question is a bit theoretical: how might one go about doing "erosion control" that simply aims at minimizing erosion on agricultural land (one of my LUCs) and erosion hotspots ("priority areas" I suppose). Though page 50 of the manual explains that up to 3 "other objectives" can be created, I wonder if this is the best way forward?

Looking forward to your thoughts!
Post edited by jelliso on


  • swolnyswolny Member, NatCap Staff
    Hi Jelliso -

    Really, both of the erosion objectives in RIOS do the exact same generic thing, which is targeting erosion sources on the landscape (agricultural or otherwise.) They have been separated into drinking water and reservoir maintenance because originally RIOS linked to the old InVEST Sediment model. Along with the biophysical supply of sediment, the old model calculated service and value of erosion control, based specifically on improvements to drinking water quality and reservoir maintenance. Since the sediment model had this separation, and it is possible that users might in fact want to consider both of these situations individually, we defined them separately. But practically, you can choose either one and get the same activity portfolio in the end.

    ~ Stacie
  • Great! Thanks for clearing this up for me, Stacie.
  • I understand I will get the same results using either erosion objective to target erosion sources in the landscape. Since there is no reservoir (the watersheds of interest drain into seasonally dry river channels) - and water quality is not an issue - I am wondering how to satisfy one of the data requirements: "location and # of beneficiaries per reservoir"? 
  • swolnyswolny Member, NatCap Staff
    The Beneficiaries raster input is used simply to take the people in the landscape into account when prioritizing where to do activities. While this could be the number of people who use water from a reservoir, it could also be population density if there is a lot of agriculture that would benefit from retaining soil on the farms. If local people draw water from the streams, there is a water quality component that you could quantify from summing up the number of people upslope of the stream. Or, you could use this layer to map out something like areas of high poverty, where you might particularly like your restoration activities/investments to benefit low-income people.

    Or, you can choose not to include beneficiaries, and enter a raster with a single value (like 1) across the whole area of interest. It can also be interesting to look at how including beneficiaries changes the activity selection compared with only including biophysical factors.

    ~ Stacie

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