Spatial soil erosion estimation using an artificial neural network (ANN) and field plot data

V. Gholami (Corresponding Author), M.J. Booij, E. Nikzad Tehrani, M.A. Hadian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

74 Citations (Scopus)
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Soil erosion and sediment transport measurement is a time-consuming and difficult step yet important part of hydrological studies. Hence, use of models has become commonplace in estimating soil erosion and sediment transport. In this study, we used an artificial neural network (ANN) to simulate soil erosion rates. A geographic information system (GIS) was used as a pre-processor and post-processor tool to present the spatial variation of the soil erosion rate. The ANN was trained, optimized and verified using data from the Kasilian watershed located in the northern part of Iran. Field plots were used to estimate soil erosion values on the hillslopes. A Multi Layer Perceptron (MLP) network was adopted, where the soil erosion rate was the output variable and the rainfall intensity and amount, air and soil temperature, soil moisture, vegetation cover and slope were the inputs. After the training process, the network was tested. According to the test results, the ANN can estimate soil erosion with an acceptable level (coefficient of determination = 0.94, mean squared error = 0.04). The verified network and its inputs were used to estimate soil erosion rates on the hillslopes. Finally, a soil erosion rate map was generated based on the results of the verified network and GIS capabilities. The results confirm the high potential when coupling an ANN and a GIS in soil erosion estimation and mapping on the hillslopes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-218
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


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