Pilot project to observe erosion in crops in order to take preventive measures

Soil erosion decreases the yield capacity of soils by the loss of soil on the surface. It can also contaminate groundwaters with sediments, nutrients or pollutants. However, erosion problems are generally not considered as priorities and measures taken to fight against them are often insufficient. In addition, it is difficult for the cantonal services to observe in the field all situations that actually induce erosion and to be able to propose appropriate measures. New technologies, such as the use of aerial images taken by drones or low cost Unmanned Aerial Vehicule (UAV) coupled with radar precipitation data, offer new possibilities for documenting these situations and proposing preventive measures.

The Swiss Federal Office for Environnement wants to exploit these new technologies in order to see whether it is possible to highlight erosion traces after an important rain event with the help of aerial images taken by an UAV. This project is part of the continuation of the project Agrovision, which allowed the development of image aquisition methods. The objectives of this research project are:

  • To document erosion events by field measurements and aerial images
  • To document cultural practices leading to erosion events
  • To compare field measurements and image analysis
  • To analyze aerial images to calculate the volume of erosion channels
  • To develop a prevention and non-control tool


NOLL, D., MOTA, M., BURGOS, S., 2019. Utilisation d’images à très haute résolution pour quantifier l’érosion et proposer des mesures préventives ciblées. Revue des oenologues, 171: 24-29 (lien)

NOLL D., CANNELLE B., BULLINGER G., VADI G., SPAHNI B., FAVRE BOIVIN F., LINIGER H., KRAUER J., HODEL E., EBNETER L., BERGER N., STETTLER M., BURGOS S., Use of high-resolution drone images to quantify soil erosion, The 12th European conference on precision agriculture, 8-11 juillet 2019, Montpellier, France

Project manager in Changins Dorothea Noll Senior academic associate UAS in Soil Sciences T +41 22 363 40 48

2015 – 2017

Partners: Universität Bern, HEIA-FR, HAFL (Berner Fachhochschule)

Funding: Federal Office of the Environment (FOEV)