College of Forestry and Environmental Science, Central Mindanao University, Musuan, Maramag, Bukidnon, Philippines


Geomorphometric features and land use/land cover are essential in the context of watershed prioritization for resources conservation and protection. Watersheds in tropical regions like the Philippines are under threat of degradation due to the combined effects of uncontrolled agricultural activities in the uplands and frequently increasing erosive precipitations brought about by climate change. Watershed managers are challenged with these pressing issues and concerns because most watersheds have no sufficient data as a basis for decision making. This paper presents the method of analyzing the different geomorphometric features and the existing land use or land cover to assess the propensity of the watershed against erosion so that areas needing immediate treatment can be prioritized. Arbitrarily, fourteen subwatersheds coded as SW1 to SW14 were delineated using a digital elevation model and geographic information system tool. Geomorphometric features categorized as areal aspect, relief features, and channel morphology parameters were generated and analyzed. Parameters having direct and inverse effect to erosion risk was used as the criteria in the ranking process. Land use/land cover was added to geomorphometric parameters to come up with compound values for final prioritization. Results showed that SW13, SW14, and SW4 were classified under very high priority implying focus for appropriate management actions while SW10, SW6, and SW7 were classified under very low priority suggesting favorable environmental condition in these areas. The study provides significant information helpful to watershed managers and planners especially in crafting a plan for integrated watershed management wherein programs and projects implementation have to be prioritized. 

Graphical Abstract

Watershed conservation prioritization using geomorphometric and land use-land cover parameters


  • Quantification of geomorphologic parameters is quickly done with the use of digital elevation model within a geographic information system environment; 
  • Results provide vital information useful for a science-based decision relative to the prioritization of subwatershed for conservation intervention under the meager budget; 
  • Quick identification of subwatershed needing immediate management intervention can be done with the use of priority index map generated in the study. 


Main Subjects

Abdel-Fattah, M.; Saber, M.; Kantoush, S.A.; Khalil, M.F.; Sumi, T.; Sefelnasr, A.M., (2017). A hydrological and geomorphometric approach to understanding the generation of Wadi flash floods. Water, 9(7): 553.

Adhikary, P.P.; Dash, Ch.J., (2018). Morphometric analysis of Katra Watershed of Eastern Ghats: A GIS approach. Int. J. Curr. Microbiol. App. Sci, 7(3): 1651-1665 (15 pages).  

Ahnert, F., (1998). Introduction to Geomorphology. Arnold, London (353 pages).

Ali, S.A.; Ikbal, J., (2015). Prioritization based on geomorphic characteristics of Ahar watershed, Udaipur district, Rajasthan, India using Remote Sensing and GIS. J. Environ. Res. Develop., 10(1): 187-200 (14 pages).

Ali, U.; Ali, S.A.; Ikbal, J.; Bashir, M.; Fadhi, M.; Ahmad, M.; Al-dharab, H.; Ali, S., (2018). Soil erosion risk and flood behavior assessment of Sukhang catchment, Kashmir basin: Using GIS and remote sensing. J. Remote Sens. GIS, 7(1): 1-8 (8 pages).

Ahmed, F., Rao, K.S., (2014). Morphometric and hypsometric analysis of Sairang Sub-basin for Natural Resources Management. Proceeding of the National Seminar on Management of Natural Resources for Sustainable Development: Challenges and Opportunities held at Department of Geography and Resource Management, School of Earth Sciences, Mizoram University, 06–07 March, 2014, 244–256 (13 pages).

Aravinda, P.T., Balakrishna, H.B., (2013). Morphometric analysis of Vrishabha Vathi watershed using remote sensing and GIS. Int. J. Res. Eng. Tech., 2(8): 514-522 (9 pages).

Balasubramanian, A., Duraisamy, K., Thirumalaisamy, S., Krishnaraj, S., Yatheendradasan, R.K., (2017). Prioritization of subwatersheds based on quantitative morphometric analysis in lower Bhavani basin, Tamil Nadu, India using DEM and GIS techniques. Arab. J. Geosci., 10:552 (18 pages).

Bera, K.; Bandyopadhyay, J., (2013). Prioritization of watershed using morphometric analysis through geoinformatics technology: A case study of Dungra subwatershed, West Bengal, India. Int. J. Adv. Remote Sens. GIS., 2(1): 1-8 (8 pages).

Beven, K., (1987). Towards the use of catchment geomorphology in flood frequency predictions. Earth Surf Process Landf, 12(1): 69-82 (14 pages).

Chandniha, S.K.; Kansal, M.L., (2014). Prioritization of sub-watersheds based on morphometric analysis using geospatial technique in Piperiya watershed, India. Appl. Water Sci., 7(1): 329-338 (10 pages).

Chandrashekar, H.; Lokesh, K.V.; Sameena, M.; Roopa, J.; Ranganna, G., (2015). GIS-based morphometric analysis of two reservoir catchments of Arkavati River, Ramanagaram District, Karnataka. Elsevier, Science Direct, Aquat. Procedia, 4(2015): 1345-1353 (9 pages).

Choudhari, P.P., Nigam, G.K., Sing, S.K., Thakur, S., (2018). Morphometric based prioritization of watershed for groundwater potential of Mula river basin, Maharashtra, India. Geol. Ecol. Landscape., 2(2018): 1-12 (12 pages).

Dabral, P.P.; Baithuri, N.; Pandey, A., (2008). Soil erosion assessment in a hilly catchment of North Eastern India using USLE, GIS and remote sensing. Water Resour. Manage, 22(12): 1783-1798 (16 pages).

Da Cunha, E.R.; Bacani, V.M., (2016). Morphometric characterization of a watershed through SRTM data and geoprocessing techniques. J. Geogr. Inf. Syst., 8: 238-247 (10 pages).

Dejarme-Calalang, G.; Colinet, G., (2014). A review of soils and crops in the Bukidnon Highlands of Northern Mindanao, the Philippines. Biotechnol. Agron. Soc. Eviron., 18(4): 544-557 (14 pages).

DENR MC, (2008). Department of Environment and Natural Resources Memorandum Circular No. 2008-05 Series of 2008. Guidelines in the Preparation of Integrated Watershed Management Plans, Annex B, Watershed Characterization Report Annotated Outline, (21 pages).

Dikpal, R.L., Prasad, T.J.R., Satish, K., (2017). Evaluation of morphometric parameters derived from Cartosat-1 DEM using remote sensing and GIS techniques for Budigere Amanikere watershed, Dakshina Pinakini Basin, Karnataka, India. Appl. Water Sci., 7(8): 4399–4414 (16 pages).

Duley, F.L., (1932). The effect of the degree of slope on run-off and soil erosion. J. Agric. Res., 45(6): 349-360 (12 pages).

Evans, I.S., (2012). Geomorphometry and landform mapping: What is a landform? Geomorphology, 137(1): 94-106 (13 pages).

Executive Order No. 193, (2015). Implementing rules and regulations on Executive Order So. 193, series of 2015: Expanding the coverage of the National greening Program.

Fox, D.M.; Bryan, R.B., (1999). The relationship of soil loss by interrill erosion to slope gradient. Catena 38(3): 211-222 (12 pages).

Francisco, H.A.; Rola, A.C., (2004). Realities of watershed management in the Philippines: Synthesis of case studies. Discussion Paper Series No. 24. Philippines Institute for Development Studies, (22 pages).

Gajbhiye, S.; Mishra, S.K.; Pandey, A., (2014). Prioritizing erosion-prone area through morphometric analysis: an RS and GIS perspective. Appl. Water Sci., 4: 51-61 (11 pages).

Gumma, M.K.; Birhanu, B.Z.; Mohammed, I.A.; Tabo, R.; Whitbread, A.M., (2016). Prioritization of watersheds across Mali using remote sensing data and GIS techniques for agricultural development planning. Water, 8(260): 1-17 (17 pages).

Horton, R.E., (1945). Erosional development of streams and their drainage basins: Hydrological approach to quantitative morphology. Geol. Soc. Am. Bull., 56: 275-370 (96 pages).

Horton, R. E., (1932). Drainage basin characteristics. Trans. Am. Geophys. Unions. 13: 350-361 (12 pages).

INREMP, (2018). Integrated Natural Resources and Environmental Management Project Rehabilitation of New Eden, Concepcion Access Road and Foot Trail in Pangantucan, Bukidnon. Initial Environmental Examination.

Iqbal, M; Sajjad, H., (2014). Watershed prioritization using morphometric and land use/land cover parameters of Dudhganga catchment Kashmir Valley India using spatial technology. J. Geophys Remote Sens., 3(1): 1-12 (12 pages).

Jain, M.K.; Das, D., (2010). Estimation of sediment yield and areas of soil erosion and deposition for watershed prioritization using GIS and remote sensing. Water Resour. Manage. 24(10): 2091-2112 (22 pages).

Javed, A.; Khanday, M.Y.; Rais, S., (2011). Watershed prioritization using morphometric and land use/land cover parameters: A remote sensing and GIS based approach. J. Geol. Soc. India, 78(1): 63-75 (13 pages).

Javed, A.; Khanday, M.Y.; Ahmed, R., (2009). Prioritization of sub-watersheds based on morphometric and land use analysis using remote sensing and GIS techniques. J. Indian Soc. Remote Sens., 37(2): 261-274 (13 pages).

Javier, J.A., (1999). Watershed management policies and institutional mechanics: A critical review. J. Philippines Develop., 47(1): 77-100 (24 pages).

Kadam, A.K.; Umrikar, B.N.; Sankhua, R.N., (2016). Geomorphometric characterization and prioritization of watershed from semi-arid region, India for green growth potential. J. Environ. Res. Develop., 11(02): 417-432 (16 pages).

Ket-ord, R., Tangtham, N., Udomchoke, V., (2013). Synthesizing drainage morphology of tectonic watershed in Upper Ing watershed (Kwan Phayao Wetland Watershed). Mod. Appl. Sci., 7(1); 13-27 (15 pages).

Khare, D.; Mondal, A.; Mishra, P.K., (2014). Morphometric analysis for prioritization using remote sensing and GIS technologies in a hilly catchment in the State of Uttarakhand, India. Indian J. Sci. Technol., 7(10): 1650-1662 (13 pages).

Kinthada, N.R.; Gurram, M.K.; Eedara, A.; Velaga, V.R., (2013). Remote sensing and GIS in the geomorphometric analysis of micro-watersheds for hydrological scenario assessment and characterization – A study on Sarada river basin, Visakhapatnam district, India.  I. J. Geomatics Geosci., 4(1): 195-212 (18 pages).

Kottagoda, S.D.; Abeysingha, N.S., (2017). Morphometric analysis of watersheds in Kelani river basin for soil and water conservation. J. Nat. Sci. Foundation Sri Lanka., 45(3): 273-285 (13 pages).

Langbein, W.B., (1947). Topographic Characteristics of Drainage Basins. U.S. Geol. Surv. Water-Supply Paper, 986(C): 157-159 (3 pages).

Londhe, S.; Nathawa, M.S.; Subudhi, A.P., (2010). Erosion susceptibility zoning and prioritization of mini-watersheds using geomatics approach. I. J. Geomatics Geosci., 1(3): 511-528 (18 pages).

Mahadevaiah, T.; Narendra, B.K., (2014). Prioritizing subwatershed from drainage morphometric parameters for erosion studies in Chitravathi watershed, Chickballapur District, Karnataka. Nat. Environ. Pollout. Tech., 13(2): 297-302 (6 pages).

Malik, M.I.; Bhat, M.S., (2014). Integrated approach for prioritizing watersheds for management: A study of Lidder catchment of Kashmir Himalayas. Environ. Manage., 54(2014): 1267-1287 (21 pages).

Meshram, S.G.; Shrama. S.K., (2015). Prioritization of watershed through morphometric parameters: a PCA-based approach. Appl Water Sci., 7: 1505-1519 (15 pages).

Melton, M.A., (1957).  An  Analysis  of  the  relations  among elements of  climate, surface properties  and geomorphology, Project NR 389042, Tech Rep 11, Columbia University.

Mishra, A.; Kar, S.; Singh, V.P., (2007). Prioritizing structural management by quantifying the effect of land use and land cover on watershed runoff and sediment yield. Water Resour. Manage., 21:  1899-1913 (15 pages).

Mohammed, A.; Adugna, T.; Takala, W., (2018). Morphometric analysis and prioritization of watersheds for soil erosion management in Upper Gibe catchment. J. Degrade. Min. Land Manage., 6(1): 1419-1426 (8 pages).

Montgomery, D.R.; Brandon, M.T., (2002). Topographic controls on erosion rates in tectonically active mountain ranges. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 201: 481-489 (9 pages).

Naqvi, H.R.; Athick, M.A.; Ganaie, H.A.; Siddiqui, M.A., (2015). Soil erosion planning using sediment yield index method in the Nun Nadi watershed, India. Int. Soil Water Conserv. Res., 3(2015): 86-96 (11 pages).

Nageswara, R.; Swarna, L.; Arun, K.; Hari, K., (2010). Morphometric analysis of Gostani River basin in Andhra Pradesh State, India using spatial information technology. I. J. Geomatics Geosci., 1(2): 179-187 (9 pages).

Pandey, A.; Chowdary, V.M.; Mal, B.C., (2007). Identification of critical erosion prone areas in the small agricultural watershed using USLE, GIS and remote sensing. Water Resour. Manage., 21 (4): 729-746 (18 pages).

Pareta, K.; Pareta, U., (2012). Quantitative geomorphological analysis of a watershed of Ravi river basin, H.P. India. Int. J. Remote Sens. GIS, 1(1): 47-62 (16 pages).

Pike, R.J.; Evans, I.S.; Hengl, T., (2009). Geomorphometry: A Brief Guide. Elsevier B.V., 3-30 (28 pages).

Puno, R.C.C.; Puno, G.R.; Talisay, B.A.M., (2018). Hydrologic responses of watershed assessment to land cover and climate change using soil and water assessment tool model. Global J. Environ. Sci. Manage., 5(1): 71-82 (12 pages).

Rama, V.A., (2014). Drainage basin analysis for characterization of 3rd order watersheds using geographic information system (GIS) and ASTER data. J. Geomantics, 8(2): 200-210 (11 pages).

Smith, K.G., (1950). Standards for grading texture of erosional topography. Am. J. Sci., 248(5): 655-668 (14 pages).

Soni, S., (2017). Assessment of morphometric characteristics of Chakrar watershed in Madhya Pradesh India using geospatial technique. Appl. Water Sci., 2:2089-2102 (14 pages).

Sujatha, E.R.; Selvakumar, R.; Rajasimman, U.A.B.; Victor, R.G., (2017). Morphometric analysis of sub-watershed in parts of Western Ghats, South India using ASTER DEM. Geomat. Nat. Hazard. Risk, 6(4): 326-341 (16 pages).

Summerfield, M.A., (1991). Global geomorphology. An introduction to the study of landforms. Harlow: Longman; New York: John Wiley Inc., 17(5): (537 pages).

Thomas, J.; Joseph, S.; Thrivikramji, K.P.; Abe, G., (2011). Morphometric analysis of the drainage system and its hydrological implications in the rain shadow regions, Kerala, India. J. Geogr. Sci., 21(6): 1077-1088 (12 pages).

Tribe, A., (1992). Automated recognition of valley heads from digital elevation models . Earth Surf. Processes Landforms., 16(1): 33-49 (17 pages).

Vemu, S.; Pinnamaneni, U.D., (2012). Sediment yield estimation and prioritization of watershed using remote sensing and GIS. International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences, 25 August – 01 September 2012, Melbourne, Australia, 39(B8): 529-533 (6 pages).

Vaze, J.; Teng, J.; Spencer, G., (2010). Impact of DEM accuracy and resolution on topographic indices. Environ. Modell. Software, 25: 1086-1098 (13 pages).

Vishal, K.I., Mishra, A.K., Sarangi, A., Singh, D.K., Seghal, V.K., (2014). Hydrologic behavior of Tapi river catchment using morphometric analysis. J. Appl. Nat. Sci., 6(2): 442-440 (9 pages).

Waikar, M.L.; Nilawar, A.P., (2014). Morphometric analysis of a drainage basin using geographic information system: A case study. Int. J. Multidiscip. Curr. Res., 2 (2014): 179-184 (6 pages).

Withanage, N.S.; Dayawansa, N.D.K.; De Silva, R.P., (2014). Morphometric analysis of the Gal Oya River Basin using spatial data derived from GIS. Trop. Agric. Res., 26(1); 175-188. (14 pages).

Zhang, H.Y.; Shi, Z.H.; Fang, N.F.; Guo, M.H., (2015). Linking watershed geomorphic characteristics to sediment yield: Evidence from the Loess Plateau of China. Geomorphology, 234 (2015): 19-27 (9 pages).

Zhang, Z.; Sheng, L.; Yang, J.; Chen, X.; Kong, L.; Wagan, B., (2015). Effects of land use and slope gradient on soil erosion in a red soil hilly watershed of Southern China. Sustainability, 2015(7): 14309-14325 (17 pages).

Letters to Editor

GJESM Journal welcomes letters to the editor for the post-publication discussions and corrections which allows debate post publication on its site, through the Letters to Editor. Letters pertaining to manuscript published in GJESM should be sent to the editorial office of GJESM within three months of either online publication or before printed publication, except for critiques of original research. Following points are to be considering before sending the letters (comments) to the editor.

[1] Letters that include statements of statistics, facts, research, or theories should include appropriate references, although more than three are discouraged.
[2] Letters that are personal attacks on an author rather than thoughtful criticism of the author’s ideas will not be considered for publication.
[3] Letters can be no more than 300 words in length.
[4] Letter writers should include a statement at the beginning of the letter stating that it is being submitted either for publication or not.
[5] Anonymous letters will not be considered.
[6] Letter writers must include their city and state of residence or work.
[7] Letters will be edited for clarity and length.