Integrated model for the hydro-mechanical effects of vegetation against shallow landslides

Alejandro Gonzalez-Ollauri*, Slobodan B. Mickovski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Shallow landslides are instability events that lead to dramatic soil mass wasting in sloping areas and are commonly triggered by intense rainfall episodes. Vegetation may reduce the likelihood of slope failure through different hydro-mechanical mechanisms that take place at the soil-plant-atmosphere interface. However, while vegetation’s mechanical contribution has been widely recognized, its hydrological effects have been poorly quantified. In addition, most of the existing models lack a holistic approach, require difficult to measure parameters or are commercially based, making them hardly transferable to land planners and other researchers.
In this paper an integrated, robust and reproducible model framework is proposed and evaluated with the aim of assessing the hydro-mechanical effects of different vegetation types on slope stability using easily measurable and quantifiable input parameters. The output shows that the model framework is able to simulate the hydro-mechanical effects of vegetation in a realistic manner and that it can be readily applied to any vegetation, soil and climate types. It also demonstrates that vegetation has positive hydro-mechanical effects against shallow landslides, where plant biomass and evapotranspiration play an important role.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-61
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


  • landslides
  • sloping areas
  • vegetation


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