High-resolution measurement of topographic changes in agricultural soils

I. Oz, R. Arav, S. Filin, S. Assouline, A. Furman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Terrestrial lidar technology provides accurate surface data at high spatial resolution. This study examined the ability of lidar scanners to evaluate soil erosion and deposition at high spatial and temporal resolutions. Lidar scans were conducted in six field plots with three different tillage systems during two rain seasons, focusing on four major rainfall events. Results show that the lidar scanner identifies changes in the surface elevation in the case of rill erosion within the furrows. In these cases, the high-quality quantitative data can assist practical decision-making and can contribute to the calibration of physically based erosion models. In other cases, however, the results show that the ability of the lidar scanners to detect erosion and deposition processes is limited. The reasons for this limitation are the minor effect of sheet erosion on flat surfaces and soil swelling and shrinking occurring during and after rainfall events. Swelling–shrinking and soil compaction processes need to be taken into account during lidar scanning, as their magnitude is comparable to that of soil loss by erosion. On the other hand, the ability to measure these processes allows investigation of the dynamics of surface processes during wetting and drying sequences. The results showed also that the effect of the rainfall pattern was stronger when the rainfall intensity and the initial soil moisture were higher, and that rill erosion is more important when the furrows are parallel to the slope direction, while deposition is accentuated when the furrows are perpendicular to the slope.

Original languageEnglish
JournalVadose Zone Journal
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'High-resolution measurement of topographic changes in agricultural soils'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this