Articles | Volume 5, issue 2
01 Feb 2005
01 Feb 2005

Scenario modelling of basin-scale, shallow landslide sediment yield, Valsassina, Italian Southern Alps

J. C. Bathurst, G. Moretti, A. El-Hames, A. Moaven-Hashemi, and A. Burton

Abstract. The SHETRAN model for determining the sediment yield arising from shallow landsliding at the scale of a river catchment was applied to the 180-km2 Valsassina basin in the Italian Southern Alps, with the aim of demonstrating that the model can simulate long term patterns of landsliding and the associated sediment yields and that it can be used to explore the sensitivity of the landslide sediment supply system to changes in catchment characteristics. The model was found to reproduce the observed spatial distribution of landslides from a 50-year record very well but probably with an overestimate of the annual rate of landsliding. Simulated sediment yields were within the range observed in a wider region of northern Italy. However, the results suggest that the supply of shallow landslide material to the channel network contributes relatively little to the overall long term sediment yield compared with other sources. The model was applied for scenarios of possible future climate (drier and warmer) and land use (fully forested hillslopes). For both scenarios, there is a modest reduction in shallow landslide occurrence and the overall sediment yield. This suggests that any current schemes for mitigating sediment yield impact in Valsassina remain valid. The application highlights the need for further research in eliminating the large number of unconditionally unsafe landslide sites typically predicted by the model and in avoiding large overestimates of landslide occurrence.