The vineyards of the Montagne de Reims are mostly planted on steep south-oriented cuesta fronts receiving a maximum of sun radiation. Due to the location of the vineyards on steep hillslopes, the viticultural activity is threatened by slope failures. This study attempts to better understand the spatial patterns of landslide susceptibility in the Champagne–Ardenne region by comparing a heuristic (qualitative) and a statistical (quantitative) model in a 1120 km² study area. The heuristic landslide susceptibility model was adopted from the Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières, the GEGEAA – Reims University and the Comité
Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne. In this model, expert knowledge of the region was used to assign
weights to all slope classes and lithologies present in the area, but the final susceptibility map was never
evaluated with the location of mapped landslides. For the statistical landslide susceptibility assessment,
logistic regression was applied to a dataset of 291 ‘old’ (Holocene) landslides. The robustness of the logistic
regression model was evaluated and ROC curves were used for model calibration and validation.
With regard to the variables assumed to be important environmental factors controlling landslides, the two
models are in agreement. They both indicate that present and future landslides are mainly controlled by slope gradient and lithology. However, the comparison of the two landslide susceptibility maps through (1) an evaluation with the location of mapped ‘old’ landslides and through (2) a temporal validation with spatial data of ‘recent’ (1960–1999; n=48) and ‘very recent’ (2000–2008; n=46) landslides showed a better prediction capacity for the statistical model produced in this study compared to the heuristic model. In total, the statistically-derived landslide susceptibility map succeeded in correctly classifying 81.0% of the ‘old’ and 91.6% of the ‘recent’ and ‘very recent’ landslides. On the susceptibility map derived from the heuristic model, on the other hand, only 54.6% of the ‘old’ and 64.0% of the ‘recent’ and ‘very recent’ landslides were correctly classified as unstable. Hence, the landslide susceptibility map obtained from logistic regression is a better tool for regional landslide susceptibility analysis in the study area of the Montagne de Reims. The accurate classification of zones with very high and high susceptibility allows delineating zones where viticulturists should be informed and where implementation of precaution measures is needed to secure slope stability.