Testing the ephemeral gully erosion model (EGEM) for two mediterranean environments

J. Steiger, A. M. Gurnell, P. Ergenzinger, D. Snelder

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Few models can predict ephemeral gully erosion rates (e.g. CREAMS, EGEM). The Ephemeral Gully Erosion Model (EGEM) was specifically developed to predict soil loss by ephemeral gully erosion. Although EGEM claims to have a great potential in predicting soil losses by ephemeral gully erosion, it has never been thoroughly tested. The objective of this study was to evaluate the suitability of EGEM for predicting ephemeral gully erosion rates in Mediterranean environments. An EGEM-input data set for 86 ephemeral gullies was collected: detailed measurements of 46 ephemeral gullies were made in intensively cultivated land in southeast Spain (Guadalentin study area) and another 40 ephemeral gullies were measured in both intensively cultivated land and abandoned land in southeast Portugal (Alentejo study area). Together with the assessment of all EGEM-input parameters, the actual eroded volume for each ephemeral gully was also determined in the field. A very good relationship between predicted and measured ephemeral gully volumes was found (R2=0.88). But as ephemeral gully length is an EGEM input parameter, both predicted and measured ephemeral gully volumes have to be divided by this ephemeral gully length in order to test the predictive capability of EGEM. The resulting relationship between predicted and measured ephemeral gully cross-sections is rather weak (R2=0.27). Therefore it can be concluded that EGEM is not capable of predicting ephemeral gully erosion for the given Mediterranean areas. A second conclusion is that ephemeral gully length is a key parameter in determining the ephemeral gully volume. Regression analysis shows that a very significant relation between ephemeral gully length and ephemeral gully volume exists (R2=0.91). Accurate prediction of ephemeral gully length is therefore crucial for assessing ephemeral gully erosion rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-30
Number of pages14
JournalEarth Surface Processes and Landforms
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001


  • EGEM
  • Ephemeral gully erosion
  • Mediterranean environments


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