Because of favourable natural factors and strong human impact over environment during centuries, area of the Republic of Albania is characterized with high soil erosion rate. In last decades, faster economic growth of the country and lack of soil resources, fresh water, forests etc., reinforce the need for soil protection and soil conservation. That increases the interest for erosion research, especially in the areas highly affected by soil erosion. One of those areas is catchments of river Shkumbini, which is in turn a major river in the Republic of Albania. As a result of very suitable characteristics (soft rocks, sandy soils, steep slopes, climate, sparse vegetation, anthropogenic influence) upper part of its catchments has very high soil erosion rate. Soil erosion and associated nonpoint pollution pose critical problems affecting the economic welfare, food security, and public health of Albania. Each year nearly 60 million tons of sediment are deposited by Albanian rivers into the Adriatic Sea. The objectives of this paper is to quantify the magnitude of soil erosion and its effects on water quality at three levels of intensity—site-specific, watershed, and nation as a whole and to identify high-risk areas for immediate soil erosion control using a geographic information system.
Keywords: soil erosion, land use, environmental conservation