Optimal Subdivision for Treatment and Management of Catastrophic Landslides in a Watershed Using Topographic Factors

Environ Manage. 2016 Nov;58(5):833-842. doi: 10.1007/s00267-016-0751-x. Epub 2016 Sep 7.


Recent extreme rainfall events led to many landslides due to climate changes in Taiwan. How to effectively promote post-disaster treatment and/or management works in a watershed/drainage basin is a crucial issue. Regarding the processes of watershed treatment and/or management works, disaster hotspot scanning and treatment priority setup should be carried out in advance. A scanning method using landslide ratio to determine the appropriate outlet of an interested watershed, and an optimal subdivision system with better homogeneity and accuracy in landslide ratio estimation were developed to help efficient executions of treatment and/or management works. Topography is a key factor affecting watershed landslide ratio. Considering the complexity and uncertainty of the natural phenomenon, multivariate analysis was applied to understand the relationship between topographic factors and landslide ratio in the interested watershed. The concept of species-area curve, which is usually adopted at on-site vegetation investigation to determinate the suitable quadrate size, was used to derive the optimal threshold in subdivisions. Results show that three main component axes including factors of scale, network and shape extracted from Digital Terrain Model coupled with areas of landslide can effectively explain the characteristics of landslide ratio in the interested watershed, and a relation curve obtained from the accuracy of landslide ratio classification and number of subdivisions could be established to derive optimal subdivision of the watershed. The subdivision method promoted in this study could be further used for priority rank and benefit assessment of landslide treatment in a watershed.

Keywords: Landslide; Multivariate analysis; Subdivision; Topographic factors.

MeSH terms

  • Climate Change
  • Conservation of Natural Resources / methods*
  • Disasters*
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Geological Phenomena
  • Landslides*
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Rivers*
  • Taiwan