Spatial Modelling of Gully Erosion Using GIS and R Programing: A Comparison among Three Data Mining Algorithms

Alireza Arabameri, Biswajeet Pradhan (Corresponding Author), Hamid Reza Pourghasemi, Khalil Rezaei, Norman Kerle

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72 Citations (Scopus)
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Gully erosion triggers land degradation and restricts the use of land. This study assesses the spatial relationship between gully erosion (GE) and geo-environmental variables (GEVs) using Weights-of-Evidence (WoE) Bayes theory, and then applies three data mining methods—Random Forest (RF), boosted regression tree (BRT), and multivariate adaptive regression spline (MARS)—for gully erosion susceptibility mapping (GESM) in the Shahroud watershed, Iran. Gully locations were identified by extensive field surveys, and a total of 172 GE locations were mapped. Twelve gully-related GEVs: Elevation, slope degree, slope aspect, plan curvature, convergence index, topographic wetness index (TWI), lithology, land use/land cover (LU/LC), distance from rivers, distance from roads, drainage density, and NDVI were selected to model GE. The results of variables importance by RF and BRT models indicated that distance from road, elevation, and lithology had the highest effect on GE occurrence. The area under the curve (AUC) and seed cell area index (SCAI) methods were used to validate the three GE maps. The results showed that AUC for the three models varies from 0.911 to 0.927, whereas the RF model had a prediction accuracy of 0.927 as per SCAI values, when compared to the other models. The findings will be of help for planning and developing the studied region.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1369
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalApplied Sciences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 14 Aug 2018


  • Gully erosion
  • Environmental variables
  • Data mining techniques
  • SCAI
  • GIS


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