Modeling slope stability uncertainty : a case study at the Andrews Experimental Forest Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/9306t343w

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  • A simple debris-slide model, employing a digital elevation model (DEM) and geological data, was used in a geographic information system (GIS) to map slope stability in the Andrews Experimental Forest, located in the western Cascade Range in Oregon, USA. To evaluate the contribution of error in elevation to the uncertainty of the model output, several different, but equally probable, perturbed versions of the input DEM were created by adding random, spatially autocorrelated error files. These perturbed DEMs were then processed to produce a family of slope-stability maps from which the effects of elevation error upon debris-slide potential could be assessed. The DEM error had a significant effect on the DEM-derived slopes and subsequent classification of debris-slide potential. These effects were attributed to the manner in which the debris-slide model is derived and the slope algorithm used in the GIS. The maximum magnitude of elevation error (+1/-7m) added to the DEM was small relative to variation in the height of tree canopies (0-70m) across the landscape (which can influence resolution of photogrammatrically-based interpretations of topography). The ability to assess this uncertainty has the potential to to increase understanding of inherent strengths and weaknesses of applying digital data and spatial information systems to this application, and to facilitate improved natural resource management decisions in relation to timber harvesting and slope stability problems.
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