Modelling gully-erosion susceptibility in a semi-arid region, Iran: Investigation of applicability of certainty factor and maximum entropy models

Science of the Total Environment
By: , and 

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Abstract

Gully erosion susceptibility mapping is a fundamental tool for land-use planning aimed at mitigating land degradation. However, the capabilities of some state-of-the-art data-mining models for developing accurate maps of gully erosion susceptibility have not yet been fully investigated. This study assessed and compared the performance of two different types of data-mining models for accurately mapping gully erosion susceptibility at a regional scale in Chavar, Ilam, Iran. The two methods evaluated were: Certainty Factor (CF), a bivariate statistical model; and Maximum Entropy (ME), an advanced machine learning model. Several geographic and environmental factors that can contribute to gully erosion were considered as predictor variables of gully erosion susceptibility. Based on an existing differential GPS survey inventory of gully erosion, a total of 63 eroded gullies were spatially randomly split in a 70:30 ratio for use in model calibration and validation, respectively. Accuracy assessments completed with the receiver operating characteristic curve method showed that the ME-based regional gully susceptibility map has an area under the curve (AUC) value of 88.6% whereas the CF-based map has an AUC of 81.8%. According to jackknife tests that were used to investigate the relative importance of predictor variables, aspect, distance to river, lithology and land use are the most influential factors for the spatial distribution of gully erosion susceptibility in this region of Iran. The gully erosion susceptibility maps produced in this study could be useful tools for land managers and engineers tasked with road development, urbanization and other future development.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Modelling gully-erosion susceptibility in a semi-arid region, Iran: Investigation of applicability of certainty factor and maximum entropy models
Series title Science of the Total Environment
DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.11.235
Volume 655
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Southwest Biological Science Center
Description 13 p.
First page 684
Last page 696
Country Iran