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Reliability of an expert-based runoff and erosion model: Application of STREAM to different environments

Abstract : During the last decades, the European loess belt has been confronted with a significant increase in environmental problems due to erosion on agricultural land. Spatially distributed runoff and erosion models operating at the catchment scale are therefore needed to evaluate the impact of potential mitigation measures. Expert-based models offer an alternative solution to process-based and empiricalmodels, but their decision rules are only valid for the local conditions forwhich they have beenderived. The STREAMmodel,whichwas developed inNormandy (France), has been applied in two Belgian catchments having a similar soil texture, as well as in a catchment of southern France differing by soil, land use and climate characteristics. The performance of hydrological models can be assessed for instance by calculating the Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency criterion (ENS).When applied to Belgium, the model results are satisfactory to good after an adaptation of the decision rules (0.90bENSb0.93 for runoff predictions and 0.85bENSb0.89 for erosionpredictions).Given the important environmental differences between Normandy and southern France, the model rules were also adapted for application in the latter environment. Unfortunately, the quality of runoff predictions was insufficient to simulate erosion in southern France. In conclusion, STREAMis a reliablemodel providing satisfactory runoff and erosion predictions in the regionswhere hortonian overland flowdominates.Nevertheless, an adaptation of decision rules based on localmulti-scale (plot, field, catchment) data is needed, before running themodel. STREAMcan then serve as a decision support tool to design for instance flood control measures.
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O. Evrard, Olivier Cerdan, Bas van Wesemael, Mehdi Chauvet, Yves Le Bissonnais, et al.. Reliability of an expert-based runoff and erosion model: Application of STREAM to different environments. CATENA, Elsevier, 2009, 78 (2), p. 129-141. ⟨10.1016/j.catena.2009.03.009⟩. ⟨hal-00514223⟩

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