Binary Logistic Regression Versus Boosted Regression Trees in Assessing Landslide Susceptibility for Multiple-Occurring Regional Landslide Events: Application to the 2009 Storm Event in Messina (Sicily, southern Italy).

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Luigi Lombardo1, Mariaelena Cama1, Michael Maerker2, Laura Parisi3 and Edoardo Rotigliano1, (1)Universita degli Studi Palermo, Palermo, Italy, (2)University of Tuebingen, Physical Geography and GIS, Tuebingen, Germany, (3)University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4, United Kingdom
This study aims at comparing the performances of Binary Logistic Regression (BLR) and Boosted Regression Trees (BRT) methods in assessing landslide susceptibility for multiple-occurrence regional landslide events within the Mediterranean region. A test area was selected in the north-eastern sector of Sicily (southern Italy), corresponding to the catchments of the Briga and the Giampilieri streams both stretching for few kilometres from the Peloritan ridge (eastern Sicily, Italy) to the Ionian sea. This area was struck on the 1st October 2009 by an extreme climatic event resulting in thousands of rapid shallow landslides, mainly of debris flows and debris avalanches types involving the weathered layer of a low to high grade metamorphic bedrock.

Exploiting the same set of predictors and the 2009 landslide archive, BLR- and BRT-based susceptibility models were obtained for the two catchments separately, adopting a random partition (RP) technique for validation; besides, the models trained in one of the two catchments (Briga) were tested in predicting the landslide distribution in the other (Giampilieri), adopting a spatial partition (SP) based validation procedure. All the validation procedures were based on multi-folds tests so to evaluate and compare the reliability of the fitting, the prediction skill, the coherence in the predictor selection and the precision of the susceptibility estimates.

All the obtained models for the two methods produced very high predictive performances, with a general congruence between BLR and BRT in the predictor importance. In particular, the research highlighted that BRT-models reached a higher prediction performance with respect to BLR-models, for RP based modelling, whilst for the SP-based models the difference in predictive skills between the two methods dropped drastically, converging to an analogous excellent performance. However, when looking at the precision of the probability estimates, BLR demonstrated to produce more robust models in terms of selected predictors and coefficients, as well as of dispersion of the estimated probabilities around the mean value for each mapped pixel.

The difference in the behaviour could be interpreted as the result of overfitting effects, which heavily affect decision tree classification more than logistic regression techniques.