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The role of vegetation in the stability of forested slopesAuthor(s): Robert R. Ziemer
Source: Proceedings of the International Union of Forestry Research Organizations, XVII World Congress, 6-17 September 198l, Kyoto, Japan. vol. I: 297-308.
Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
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DescriptionSummary - Vegetation helps stabilize forested slopes by providing root strength and by modifying the saturated soil water regime. Plant roots can anchor through the soil mass into fractures in bedrock, can cross zones of weakness to more stable soil, and can provide interlocking long fibrous binders within a weak soil mass. In Mediterranean-type climates, having warm, dry summers, forest evapotranspiration can develop a substantial soil moisture deficit which can reduce both piezometric head and slope mass. Pore water pressures change seasonally in response to precipitation and are often the driving mechanism which ultimately leads to slope failure. When trees are cut, the root system begins to decay, and the soil-root fabric progressively weakens. The loss of root strength or increased soil moisture content or both after-tree removal can lower the slope safety factor sufficiently that a moderate storm and associated rise in pore water pressure can result in slope failure. After trees are removed, the frequency of landslides can increase
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CitationZiemer, Robert R. 1981. The role of vegetation in the stability of forested slopes. Proceedings of the International Union of Forestry Research Organizations, XVII World Congress, 6-17 September 198l, Kyoto, Japan. vol. I: 297-308.
KeywordsPSW4351, landslides, soil water, root strength, forests, slope stabilit
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