Using the root spread information of pioneer plants to quantify their mitigation potential against shallow landslides and erosion in temperate humid climates

Alejandro Gonzalez-Ollauri*, Slobodan B. Mickovski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

The aim of this paper was to quantify the mitigation potential of pioneer herbs against shallow landslidesand erosion in temperate humid climates and to identify key plant information to aid species selectionfor slope stabilisation. The objectives ranged from the study of the climate, soil and root spread of threenative perennial herbs growing on a landslide-prone slope in Northeast Scotland to the verification of anupgraded spatially distributed eco-hydrological model in order to test whether root spread informationcan be provided cost-effectively in temperate humid climates. The retrieved information on root spreadwas then used to evaluate the slope stabilisation potential of the pioneer herbs in the topmost soilhorizons using a limit equilibrium method.The results indicated that pioneer herbs, although presenting climate-influenced shallow root systems,could noticeably contribute to reducing soil mass loss and landslides. This was largely determined by theplant biomass and allometry, the latter being a potential readily measurable proxy for species selectionin slope stabilisation that will need further investigation. Additionally, our observations supported themodel predictions remarkably well when site-specific inputs were employed, showing that the proposedmodel is a suitable and cost-effective tool to provide spatial root spread information for eco-engineeringpurposes in temperate humid climates.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)302-315
Number of pages14
JournalEcological Engineering
Volume95
Early online date2 Jul 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016

Keywords

  • pioneer herbs
  • shallow landslide
  • distributed model
  • allometry
  • temperate humid climate
  • root spread

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