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Susceptibility to Gully Erosion: Applying Random Forest (RF) and Frequency Ratio (FR) Approaches to a Small Catchment in Ethiopia

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Soil Physics and Land Management Group, Wageningen University and Research, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands
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Faculty of Civil and Water Resources Engineering, Bahir Dar University, P.O. Box 26, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia
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United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, National Sedimentation Laboratory, Oxford, MS 38655, USA
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Team Soil, Water and Land Use, Wageningen Environmental Research, 6708 PB Wageningen, The Netherlands
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Civil, Surveying and Environmental Engineering, The University of Newcastle, Callaghan 2308, Australia
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Hydrology and Quantitative Water Management Group, Wageningen University and Research, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands
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Geospatial Analytics Unit, Geospatial Information Institute, P.O. Box 597, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2021, 13(2), 216; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13020216
Received: 20 October 2020 / Revised: 12 January 2021 / Accepted: 14 January 2021 / Published: 18 January 2021
Soil erosion by gullies in Ethiopia is causing environmental and socioeconomic problems. A sound soil and water management plan requires accurately predicted gully erosion hotspot areas. Hence, this study develops a gully erosion susceptibility map (GESM) using frequency ratio (FR) and random forest (RF) algorithms. A total of 56 gullies were surveyed, and their extents were derived by digitizing Google Earth imagery. Literature review and a multicollinearity test resulted in 14 environmental variables for the final analysis. Model prediction potential was evaluated using the area under the curve (AUC) method. Results showed that the best prediction accuracy using the FR and RF models was obtained by using the top four most important gully predictor factors: drainage density, elevation, land use, and groundwater table. The notion that the groundwater table is one of the most important gully predictor factors in Ethiopia is a novel and significant quantifiable finding and is critical to the design of effective watershed management plans. Results from separate variable importance analyses showed land cover for Nitisols and drainage density for Vertisols as leading factors determining gully locations. Factors such as texture, stream power index, convergence index, slope length, and plan and profile curvatures were found to have little significance for gully formation in the studied catchment. View Full-Text
Keywords: gully erosion mapping; Ethiopian highlands; Nitisols; Vertisols; soil type; groundwater table gully erosion mapping; Ethiopian highlands; Nitisols; Vertisols; soil type; groundwater table
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MDPI and ACS Style

Amare, S.; Langendoen, E.; Keesstra, S.; Ploeg, M.v.d.; Gelagay, H.; Lemma, H.; Zee, S.E.A.T.M.v.d. Susceptibility to Gully Erosion: Applying Random Forest (RF) and Frequency Ratio (FR) Approaches to a Small Catchment in Ethiopia. Water 2021, 13, 216. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13020216

AMA Style

Amare S, Langendoen E, Keesstra S, Ploeg Mvd, Gelagay H, Lemma H, Zee SEATMvd. Susceptibility to Gully Erosion: Applying Random Forest (RF) and Frequency Ratio (FR) Approaches to a Small Catchment in Ethiopia. Water. 2021; 13(2):216. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13020216

Chicago/Turabian Style

Amare, Selamawit; Langendoen, Eddy; Keesstra, Saskia; Ploeg, Martine v.d.; Gelagay, Habtamu; Lemma, Hanibal; Zee, Sjoerd E.A.T.M.v.d. 2021. "Susceptibility to Gully Erosion: Applying Random Forest (RF) and Frequency Ratio (FR) Approaches to a Small Catchment in Ethiopia" Water 13, no. 2: 216. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13020216

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