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About RUSLE2 Technology

RUSLE2 was developed primarily to guide conservation planning, inventory erosion rates, and estimate sediment delivery. Values computed by RUSLE2 are supported by accepted scientific knowledge and technical judgment, are consistent with sound principles of conservation planning, and result in good conservation plans. RUSLE2 is also based on additional analysis and knowledge that were not available when RUSLE1 was developed. RUSLE2 is based on science and judgment that is superior to that of RUSLE1. We learned things from RUSLE1 that are incorporated into RUSLE2.

RUSLE2 has evolved from a series of previous erosion prediction technologies. The USLE was entirely an empirically based equation and was limited in its application to conditions where experimental data were available for deriving factor values. A major advancement in RUSLE1 was the use of subfactor relationships to compute C factor values from basic features of cover-management systems. While RUSLE1 retained the basic structure of the USLE, process-based relationships were added where empirical data and relationships were inadequate, such as computing the effect of strip cropping for modern conservation tillage systems.

RUSLE2 is another major advancement over RUSLE1. While RUSLE2 uses the USLE basic formulation of the unit plot, the mathematics of RUSLE2 are on a daily basis. Improved cover-management subfactor relationships are used in RUSLE2, a new ridge subfactor has been added, and the deposition equations have been extended to consider sediment characteristics and how deposition changes these characteristics. It includes new relationships for handling residue, including resurfacing of residue by implements like field cultivators.

The major visible change in RUSLE2 is its new, modern graphical user interface. It makes the model easy to use, but is extremely powerful in the information that it displays and the types of situations that it can represent. RUSLE2 is a very powerful model yet it uses very simple, easy-to-obtain inputs.