Articles | Volume 11, issue 5
Research article
19 May 2011
Research article |  | 19 May 2011

Landslide susceptibility assessment in the Upper Orcia Valley (Southern Tuscany, Italy) through conditional analysis: a contribution to the unbiased selection of causal factors

F. Vergari, M. Della Seta, M. Del Monte, P. Fredi, and E. Lupia Palmieri

Abstract. In this work the conditional multivariate analysis was applied to evaluate landslide susceptibility in the Upper Orcia River Basin (Tuscany, Italy), where widespread denudation processes and agricultural practices have a mutual impact. We introduced an unbiased procedure for causal factor selection based on some intuitive statistical indices. This procedure is aimed at detecting among different potential factors the most discriminant ones in a given study area. Moreover, this step avoids generating too small and statistically insignificant spatial units by intersecting the factor maps. Finally, a validation procedure was applied based on the partition of the landslide inventory from multi-temporal aerial photo interpretation.

Although encompassing some sources of uncertainties, the applied susceptibility assessment method provided a satisfactory and unbiased prediction for the Upper Orcia Valley. The results confirmed the efficiency of the selection procedure, as an unbiased step of the landslide susceptibility evaluation. Furthermore, we achieved the purpose of presenting a conceptually simple but, at the same time, effective statistical procedure for susceptibility analysis to be used as well by decision makers in land management.