Instability index derived from a landslide inventory for watershed stability assessment and mapping

Cheng Chien Liu, Ming Hsun Ko, Huei Lin Wen, Kuei Lin Fu, Shu Ting Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Watersheds represent natural units of social–ecological systems and affect crop productivity. Extreme weather events accelerate the natural erosion process by triggering more landslides in watersheds. To achieve the land degradation neutrality set up by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, it is necessary to assess and map spatiotemporal landslides in watersheds. This paper proposes an innovative approach to calculating the instability index by preparing an annual landslide inventory, determining the optimum sub-watershed, compensating for shadow effects on the time series of the landslide area ratio, and classifying the standard deviations to different levels of instability. Taking the Qingquan watershed as an example, the instability index calculated for 22 sub-watersheds makes it possible to identify hot spots that are prone to collapse. This new index can also be used to evaluate the effectiveness of watershed management before and after completion of a specific engineering project, as well as to update the latest upriver situation to evaluate current management practices and develop strategies for future planning. Based on this new approach, the Soil and Water Conservation Bureau of Taiwan assesses the stability of 28 watersheds, and the results are made available on the Big Geospatial Information System.

Original languageEnglish
Article number145
JournalISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Mar

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Computers in Earth Sciences
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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