Soil loss predictions with three erosion simulation models

Samar J. Bhuyan, Prasanta K. Kalita, Keith A. Janssen, Philip L. Barnes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Quantification of soil loss is one of the greatest challenges in natural resources and environmental planning. Computer simulation models are becoming increasingly popular in predicting soil loss for various land use and management practices. In this study, three soil erosion prediction models - the Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP), the Erosion Productivity Impact Calculator (EPIC), and the Areal Nonpoint Source Watershed Environment Response Simulation (ANSWERS) were used for simulating soil loss and testing the capability of the models in predicting soil losses for three different tillage systems (ridge-till, chisel-plow, and no-till). For each model, the most sensitive model parameters were calibrated using measured soil erosion data. After calibration, models were run and predicted soil loss values were compared with the measured soil loss values. The measured soil erosion data were collected from an erosion experiment field of Kansas State University at Ottawa (Kansas), USA. Field experiments were conducted from 1995 to 1997 on small plots to measure runoff and soil losses under all three tillage systems. All three models were evaluated on the basis of individual event, total yearly, and mean event-based soil loss predictions. Results showed that all the three models performed reasonably well and the predicted soil looses were within the range of measured values. For ridge-till and chisel-plow systems, WEPP and ANSWERS gave better predictions than those by EPIC model. For no-till system, WEPP and EPIC predictions were better than those by ANSWERS. The overall results indicate that WEPP predictions were better than those by the other two models in most of the cases, and it can be used with reasonable degree of confidence for soil loss quantification for all the three tillage systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-144
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Modelling and Software
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002


  • EPIC
  • Modeling
  • WEPP
  • Water quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Ecological Modeling


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