Universal Soil Loss Equation - 2003
Dedication Year: 2003
Location: USDA-ARS National Soil Erosion
Research Laboratory, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
Plaque Wording: The Universal Soil Loss
Equation (USLE) was developed at the USDA National Runoff and Soil
Loss Data Center at Purdue University in a national effort led by
Walter H. Wischmeier and Dwight D. Smith. The USLE was published in
1965 in USDA Agriculture Handbook 282.
The USLE is based on extensive erosion data from studies
throughout the USA, and provides a quick approach to estimating
long-term average annual soil loss (A). The equation is comprised
of six factors: R - rainfall and runoff; K - soil erodibility; L -
slope length; S - slope steepness; C - cover and management; and P
- support practice. USLE was the first empirical erosion equation
that was not tied to a specific region of the United States, thus
the title "Universal" Soil Loss Equation.
The USLE has been used in more than 100 countries to guide
conservation planning, assess soil erosion for conservation policy
development, and estimate sediment yield. It has helped to save
millions of tons of soil, thus helping to feed the world's
population, and to protect the environment from sediment produced
by soil erosion.