Assessing Soil Erosion Risk

ECTS credits: 5 ECTS

Course parameters:

Language: English

Level of course: PhD course/qualified MSc students are also welcome

Time of year: 6/8 – 12/8 2017 

No. of contact hours/hours in total incl. preparation, assignment(s) or the like: The total work load is 130 hours corresponding to 5 ECTS points. Preparatory work and reporting comprise, respectively 25 and 40 hours.

Capacity limits: Maximum number of participants: 16

Objectives of the course:

-    To increase the understanding for the relevance of soil erosion processes, and especially wind-driven rain.

-    To provide a hands-on learning environment for students to investigate and model soil erosion across different scales.

-    To conduct rainfall-runoff experiments, soil profile assessments and erosion modeling exercises.

-    To enhance scientific exchange and networking between participants.

Learning outcomes and competences:

At the end of the course, the student should be able to:

- Describe and analyze erosion-runoff experiments.

- Design soil erosion studies.

- Establish erosion risk maps with a simple soil erosion model.

- Critically discuss the patterns and consequences of soil erosion in a landscape context.

Compulsory programme:

Preparatory reading, active participation in course work, assignment.

Course contents:

About 80% of the world’s land degradation is caused by wind and water erosion. Hence, vital conservation planning in agricultures around the world requires comprehensive erosion risk assessment. This hands-on course introduces students to three important methodological approaches to erosion risk assessment, i.e. experimental measurements, mapping, and modelling, for generating process understanding at different spatial and temporal scales.

Following introductory lectures, student teams will conduct field studies, modeling exercises, and erosion risk scenario analyses based on the data collected. Soil erosion measurements will be done in situ using the Portable Wind and Rainfall Simulator (PWRS) for investigating interactions between wind and water erosion processes. Additionally, the study area is being surveyed including laser scanning and soil mapping.

The course will thus enable students to interpret key soil erosion risk factors both in a dynamic process and in a landscape context.


The students should have a background in either of the areas physical geography, soil science, agricultural science, environmental science or related fields.

Name of lecturer[s]:

Prof. Dr. Nikolaus J. Kuhn, University of Basel, Switzerland

Dr. Goswin Heckrath, Aarhus University, Denmark

Type of course/teaching methods:

Lectures, exercises, field work, excursion


Will be updated at the start of 2017.

Course homepage:

Course assessment:

The students have to prepare a written report after the course including: (1) theoretical background, (2) description of test sites and methods applied, (3) description of results as well as (4) discussion and conclusion based on the practical content of the course.


Department of Agroecology


6 August – 12 August 2017


AU-Foulum, Blichers Alle 20, DK-8830 Tjele


Use this link  for pre-registration, and we will contact you in April/May 2017 with detailed information and link to payment of the course fee.