New Developments in Harmonized Landslide Susceptibility Mapping over Europe in the Framework of the European Soil Thematic Strategy

  • Andreas GüntherEmail author
  • Miet Van Den Eeckhaut
  • Paola Reichenbach
  • Javier Hervás
  • Jean-Philippe Malet
  • Claire Foster
  • Fausto Guzzetti


In the context of the European Soil Thematic Strategy, and the formulation of a draft of a European framework directive devoted to the sustainable use of soil, landslides are recognized as one of the eight soil threats requiring harmonized spatial hazard assessments over the EU territory. The general framework for such assessments consists of a nested geographical approach based on “Tiers”, where a low-resolution (1:1 Million) evaluation (“Tier 1”) using already available pan-European datasets should enable the delineation of priority areas requiring more detailed assessments with additional data (“Tier 2”). In this contribution, we present new developments in the elaboration of a “Tier 1” generic landslide susceptibility evaluation based on a heuristic modelling approach exploiting the most important landslide conditioning factors. Extensive landslide locations available at small spatial scales have been collected and harmonized over the EU territory to be used for input parameter specification and model calibration, evaluation and classification. Since the analyzed area is highly complex in terms of climato-physiographic conditions controlling landslide occurrences, a preliminary landslide terrain differentiation is proposed consisting of eight calibration zones where specific predictor class weights have been allocated through a heuristic indexing approach. The spatially combined preliminary pan-European susceptibility estimate classifies 13 % of the EU territory as prone to landslides, thus requiring more detailed, quantitative inventory-based susceptibility evaluations (“Tier 2”).


Landslides Susceptibility map Heuristic model Soil Thematic Strategy Continental scale 



This work is part of the European Landslide Expert Group on ‘Guidelines for Mapping Areas at Risk of Landslides in Europe’ coordinated by JRC Ispra since 2007, and part of the ICL-IPL project IPL-162 “Tier-based harmonized approach for landslide susceptibility mapping over Europe”. We like to thank the members of the European Landslide Expert Group ( library/themes/landslides/wg.html) for all the fruitful discussions.

We are highly indebted to the institutions sharing landslide location information with us and supporting this study. These are: Geologische Bundesanstalt, Austria (GBA, Nils Tilch); Hungarian Office for Mining and Geology (Tamás Oszvald); Czech Geological Survey (Dana Čápová); Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI, Ronnie Creighton); Geological Survey of Norway (NGU, Thierry Oppikofer and Reginald Hermanns); Institute of Geology and Mineral Exploration, Greece (IGME, Eleftheria Poyiadji); Swedish Geotechnical Institute (SGI, Mats Öberg); Environment, Nature Energy Department, Flemish Government, Belgium (LNE, Liesbet Vanderkerckhove), Albanian Geological Survey (AGS, Mimoza Jusufati); Sächsisches Landesamt für Umwelt, Landwirtschaft und Geologie, Germany (LfULG, Peter Dommaschk); Instituto de Geografia e Ordenamento do Território, University of Lisbon, Portugal (IGOT, José Luis Zêzere); Federal Office for the Environment, Switzerland (BAFU, Hugo Raetzo and Bernard Loup).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas Günther
    • 1
    Email author
  • Miet Van Den Eeckhaut
    • 2
  • Paola Reichenbach
    • 3
  • Javier Hervás
    • 2
  • Jean-Philippe Malet
    • 4
  • Claire Foster
    • 5
  • Fausto Guzzetti
    • 3
  1. 1.Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR)HannoverGermany
  2. 2.Institute for Environment and SustainabilityJoint Research Centre (JRC), European CommissionIspraItaly
  3. 3.Research Institute for Hydrogeological Protection (CNR-IRPI)National Research CouncilPerugiaItaly
  4. 4.Institut de Physique du Globe de Strasbourg (CNRS) and University of Strasbourg (EOST)StrasbourgFrance
  5. 5.British Geological Survey (BGS)NottinghamUK

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