Soil erosion assessment in the Mediterranean: an Integrative approach combining field studies, remote sensing methods and process based modelling in the Imera Catchment of Sicily, Italy

Project: Research project

Project Details


The erosion processes in Southern Italy are mainly related to Plio-Pleistocenen Substrates, an aggressive Mediterranean climate and a long history in agricultural activity. There is a long history in studying these processes on a national as well as international level. However, often more qualitative approaches prevail or only single processes have been tackled. There are only few studies that assess entire river catchments or sub-basins on the meso scale. Nevertheless fully integrated quantitative approaches are still missing. This project aims at assessing erosion processes on a mesoscale level using an holistic procedure. Therefore, detailed field studies to establish erosion rates for single processes will be conducted. These processes include splash, rill and wash, gully/calanchi erosion as well as shallow mass movements. Moreover, input parameters for quantitative process based erosion models will be derived by advanced remote sensing applications using multispectral satellite data. Finally the data will be fed into a model based on a spatial distributed modelling environment. Main objectives of the project are: 1) development of algorithms to derive model input parameters (vegetation, soil attributes)with high spatio-temporal resolution. Therefore we will sue remotely sensed multispectral high resolution satellite data. 2) Relevant field studies will be conducted over a period of one year to establish main erosioncontrolling parameters (infiltrability, soil texture, soil organic content, mineral content, vegetation type and density, land use and management. 3 Main erosion processes are monitored using differential GPS, tracer and sediment traps. 4) Fusing field data and remotely sensed data using advanced statistics and machine based learning methods. 5) Models are calibrated and validated using field data of erosion rates. 6) The integrated model will be used to assess the erosion sensitivity of the catchment.

Key findings

Ambiente e cambiamento climatico
Effective start/end date1/1/09 → …