SLM-31806 Erosion Processes and Modelling


Studiepunten 6.00

Individual Paper4
Course coordinator(s)dr. JEM Baartman
Lecturer(s)dr. JM Schoorl
dr. JEM Baartman
MC Commelin
WM van der Meij
Examiner(s)dr. JEM Baartman

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

SLM-10306 Introduction to Land Degradation and Remediation or similar knowledge on this topic.
Recommended: SLM-30306 Issues and Concepts in International Land and Water Management or other relevant courses related to Natural Resources Management in general. In addition, GIS skills to process model results are recommended.


Water erosion is one of the most important  and widespread soil degradation processes worldwide, which may threaten food security for many people. Water erosion is particular important on sloping lands in semi-arid, humid tropical and temperate areas. Controlling water erosion requires a thorough understanding of the processes involved and an ability to quantify sediment transport rates. Erosion models are used to better understand the processes of soil erosion and to assess the effect of soil and water conservation measures, land use change and climate effects.
This specialized course deals with several topics relevant to experimental studies of erosion processes, as well as modelling of erosion and sedimentation dynamics. During the lectures the following topics related to modelling concepts and to water erosion processes are presented: the concept of modelling, building up a model, processes of soil erosion and their conceptualization, analysing model performance and quality. The students will work with two water erosion models; one event-based, detailed soil erosion model and one landscape evolution model. (Differences in) procedures and outcomes will be discussed. Additionally, the students will deal with recent publications on soil erosion and land degradation processes and modelling by writing an individual essay and reviewing the essay of a fellow student.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- understand, recognize, explain and discuss different forms of erosion and sedimentation processes;
- understand, explain and discuss different (erosion) modelling objectives and concepts, (dis)advantages of different types of models and how to evaluate models;
- experience working with two different types of erosion models in two computer practicals (LISEM and LAPSUS); evaluate, compare and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of these models;
- find, read, understand and discuss scientific journal articles on erosion processes and modelling in an individual essay;
- evaluate and criticize in a professional way a paper on erosion processes and modelling by reviewing a colleagues’ essay and argue choices in a professional way in a reply to your own reviewed paper.


This course knows the following activities:
- 6 lectures on soil erosion processes and modelling;
- 4 guest lectures on modelling different aspects of soil erosion;
- 4-days intensive computer practical using the LISEM soil erosion model (in teams)
- 4-days intensive computer practical using the LAPSUS landscape evolution model (in teams) ;
- oral presentation of most important findings of both computer practicals (in teams) ;
- one week of writing a personal essay on a relevant topic of choice;
- oral presentation of the essay;
- reviewing a colleagues' essay and writing a well-argued review and professionally responding to the reviewers feedback.


- presentation on LISEM practical (20%);
- presentation on LAPSUS practical (20%);
- written essay (30%);
- essay presentation (15%);
- reviewing process (15%).


Selected scientific papers and background material for the case studies will be made available, as well as Powerpoint presentations of the lectures.

Keuze voor: MEEEarth and EnvironmentMScD: Spec. D - Soil Geography and Earth Surface Dynamics5MO
MILInternational Land and Water ManagementMScA: Spec. A - Sustainable Land Management5MO
MILInternational Land and Water ManagementMScD: Spec. D - Flexible Configurations for Innovative Minds4WD