Soil erosion is a major environmental concern, with the potential to severely impact soil and water quality. Assessments of soil erosion are normally carried out using model predictions. Cesium-137 can be used to provide estimates of soil erosion at a landscape scale, and it remains the best tool to make such assessments. Two major weaknesses affect the conventional use of this assessment technique. (i) The period of time that assessments span – from about 1960, when the peak of atmospheric deposition of 137Cs occurred, to the date of sampling. As such, is not possible to assess current land management practices and their impacts on soil erosion. (ii) The use of reference sites to estimate the level of 137Cs deposition at a sampling site. Uncertainties in reference values can exceed 20%, greatly affecting the reliability of soil erosion estimates.
The objective of this study was to use repeated sampling for
137Cs to provide more accurate estimates of soil erosion for current
land management practices on a cultivated field near