Method for synchronisation of soil and root behaviour for assessment of stability of vegetated slopes

Guillermo Tardio *, Slobodan B. Mickovski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
312 Downloads (Pure)


A new methodology to incorporate the mechanical root anchorage effects in both short- and long-term slope stability analysis is proposed based on observed and assumed behaviour of rooted soil during shear failure.

The main focus of the present work is the stress–strain range comparison for both soil and roots and development of a stability model that would incorporate relevant root and soil characteristics based on the fact that available soil–root composite shear resistance depends on the magnitude of the shear strain. This new approach, combining stress–strain analysis, continuum mechanics, and limit equilibrium stability assessment, allows for a more realistic simulation of the rooted soil composite whereby the stabilising effect of the rooted soil is incorporated in the slope stability calculations by means of the synchronisation of root and soil mechanical behaviour during failure.

The stability of vegetated terraces in a study area in Spain is used as a case study to demonstrate the proposed methodology and to compare the results with the traditional use of the perpendicular root reinforcement model. The results of the study show that as the shear displacement (strain) increases, the stress is transferred from the soil that provides most of the resistance at low strains onto the roots that provide the most of the resistance to shear at high strains. Including this behaviour in the overall resistance to failure of the root–soil continuum resulted in a more conservative and realistic assessment of the stability of a vegetated slope immediately after a precipitation event when a progressive failure is most likely to be triggered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)222-230
Number of pages9
JournalEcological Engineering
Early online date16 May 2015
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2015


  • soil reinforcement
  • rooted soil
  • strain compatibility
  • finite element method
  • slope stability
  • vegetated slope
  • eco-technology


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