Digital mapping of soil aggregate stability and the effectiveness of soil erosion control practices in Behbahan region

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Faculty of Natural Resources and Environment, Khatam Al-Anbia University of Technology, Behbahan

2 Assistant Professor, Department of Soil Science Engineering, Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Lorestan University

3 Assistant Professor, Behbahan Khatam Alanbia University of Technology

4 Master of Science of the General Department of Natural Resources and Watershed Management of Khuzestan Province


Soil aggregate stability and its spatial distribution can be considered as a good indicator for assessing the results of measures conducted for mitigation soil erosion. This study was conducted in two adjacent sites in Chahmari region, Kuzestan province. At one site afforestation and contour furrowing were conducted to control soil erosion and the adjacent site with no controlling measures was considered as control. A total of 150 soil samples were collected from the surface layer (0-5 cm) of two sites and mean weight diameter of aggregates (MWD) were measured using dry and wet sieving (MWDd and MWDw, respectively). Based on digital soil mapping (DSM) approach and to map MWD spatially, several environmental covariates were derived from a Landsat 8 image and a digital elevation model (DEM). Two machine learning algorithms including artificial neural networks (ANN) and regression trees (RT) were used to predict MWD with covariates as inputs. Results indicated a significant difference between MWDd in two sites, but no significant difference was found between MWDw. Correlation analysis revealed no correlation between MWDw and all terrain attributes derived from the DEM, but significant correlations were obtained between MWDd and some terrain attributes. Most covariates derived from Landsat images had significant correlation with both MWDw and MWDd. ANN and TR had relatively high and almost the same accuracy in predicting MWDw, but in predicting MWDd, ANN was superior to RT. In general, the findings showed good performance of DSM techniques in predicting and spatial mapping of MWD.


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Volume 73, Issue 4
March 2021
Pages 771-785
  • Receive Date: 02 May 2020
  • Revise Date: 14 November 2020
  • Accept Date: 14 November 2020
  • First Publish Date: 19 February 2021