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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Tucson, Arizona » SWRC » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #372939

Research Project: Understanding Water-Driven Ecohydrologic and Erosion Processes in the Semiarid Southwest to Improve Watershed Management

Location: Southwest Watershed Research Center

Title: Soil erosion modelling: A global review and statistical analysis

item BORRELLI, P. - University Of Basel
item ALEWELL, C. - University Of Basel
item ALVAREZ, P. - Karlsruhe Institute Of Technology
item ANACHE, J.A.A. - University Of São Paulo
item BAARTMAN, J. - Wageningen University
item BALLABIO, C. - European Commission-Joint Research Centre (JRC)
item BEZAK, N, - University Of Ljubljana
item BIDDOCCU, M. - Institute Of Biology And Agricultural Biotechnology
item CERDA, A. - University Of Valencia
item CHALISE, D. - University Of New England
item CHEN, S. - Inrae
item CHEN, W. - University Of Taipei
item DE GIROLAMO, A.M. - International Water Research Institute
item DESTA GESSESSE, G. - University Of Turin
item DUEMLICH, D. - Leibniz Centre
item DIODATO, N. - Met European Research Observatory
item EFTHUMIOU, N., - Czech University Of Life Sciences Prague
item ERPUL, G. - University Of Ankara
item Nearing, Mark

Submitted to: Science of the Total Environment
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/11/2021
Publication Date: 3/17/2021
Citation: Borrelli, P., Alewell, C., Alvarez, P., Anache, J., Baartman, J., Ballabio, C., Bezak, N., Biddoccu, M., Cerda, A., Chalise, D., Chen, S., Chen, W., De Girolamo, A., Desta Gessesse, G., Duemlich, D., Diodato, N., Efthumiou, N., Erpul, G., Nearing, M.A. 2021. Soil erosion modelling: A global review and statistical analysis. Science of the Total Environment. 780.

Interpretive Summary: Many people across the world are interested and concerned about soil erosion for a variety of reasons, including concerns about potential loss of crop productivity and our ability to produce food for the global population. Many of the primary tools used worldwide to inform us about soil erosion rates are soil erosion models, of which there are many different types. This study looks at how many of these different models have been used by scientists across the world, and how many times each are used in different geographic locations. The results show that USDA scientists created, by far, the bulk of the erosion models used across the globe. These include the Universal Soil Loss Equation and its derivatives, the Water Erosion Prediction Project model, the Rangeland Hydrology and Erosion Model, the Soil Water Assessment Tool, the Wind Erosion Equation, the Wind Erosion Prediction System, and others. These results point out the importance of USDA-ARS research in developing the primary tools used for managing soil erosion problems across the planet.

Technical Abstract: To gain a better understanding on the global application of soil erosion prediction models, we established a group of 64 soil erosion scientists from 63 research institutions and 24 countries. Within this collaborative approach, we reviewed all soil erosion prediction modelling relevant peer-reviewed research literature. The resulting database ‘Global Applications of Soil Erosion Modelling Tracker (GaSEM)’ includes 3,030 individual modelling records from 126 counties encompassing all continents. Out of 8,471 articles, we reviewed 1,697 articles and transferred relevant information from each into the database. For each record reported in the GaSEM database, 36 attributes were evaluated. All attributes were subject to a rigorous and structured review, which included statistical analysis in order to evaluate (i) processes and models most frequently addressed in the literature, (ii) regions within which models are primarily applied, (iii) what regions remain unaddressed and why, and (iv) how frequently studies are conducted to validate model outcomes relative to measured data. Our GaSEM database provides unprecedented insights to shed more light on the state-of-the-art of soil erosion prediction models worldwide. This database drives soil erosion research in that it builds the foundation for future targeted in-depth analyses. GaSEM is Open Source database that anyone can use to develop research, rectify errors and further expand.