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Open AccessArticle

Is Overgrazing Really Influencing Soil Erosion?

Interdisciplinary Research Department—Field Science, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iași, St. Lascăr Catargi 54, 700107 Iași, Romania
College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Flinders University, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia
Water 2018, 10(8), 1077;
Received: 20 July 2018 / Revised: 10 August 2018 / Accepted: 10 August 2018 / Published: 13 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Erosion by Water)
Soil erosion is a serious problem spread over a variety of climatic areas around the world. The main purpose of this paper is to produce gully erosion susceptibility maps using different statistical models, such as frequency ratio (FR) and information value (IV), in a catchment from the northeastern part of Romania, covering a surface of 550 km2. In order to do so, a total number of 677 gullies were identified and randomly divided into training (80%) and validation (20%) datasets. In total, 10 conditioning factors were used to assess the gully susceptibility index (GSI); namely, elevation, precipitations, slope angle, curvature, lithology, drainage density, topographic wetness index, landforms, aspect, and distance from rivers. As a novelty, overgrazing was added as a conditioning factor. The final GSI maps were classified into four susceptibility classes: low, medium, high, and very high. In order to evaluate the two models prediction rate, the AUC (area under the curve) method was used. It has been observed that adding overgrazing as a contributing factor in calculating GSI does not considerably change the final output. Better predictability (0.87) and success rate (0.89) curves were obtained with the IV method, which proved to be more robust, unlike FR method, with 0.79 value for both predictability and success rate curves. When using sheepfolds, the value decreases by 0.01 in the case of the FR method, and by 0.02 in the case of the success rate curve for the IV method. However, this does not prove the fact that overgrazing is not influencing or accelerating soil erosion. A multi-temporal analysis of soil erosion is needed; this represents a future working hypothesis. View Full-Text
Keywords: frequency ratio; information value; gully erosion; statistical modelling; GIS; overgrazing; northeastern Romania frequency ratio; information value; gully erosion; statistical modelling; GIS; overgrazing; northeastern Romania
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Nicu, I.C. Is Overgrazing Really Influencing Soil Erosion? Water 2018, 10, 1077.

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