We examine the role of vegetation on the stability of shallow soils under unsaturated transient regime. Two main positive effects of the vegetation on slope stability are discussed: i) a geo-mechanical effect, i. e., the reinforcement of soil by plant roots; ii) a soil-hydrological effect, i. e., the soil suction regime affected by root water uptake. The root distribution is assessed by an eco-hydrological model, which predicts the root density as function of local climatic conditions in growing season and soil hydrological properties. The predicted root distribution is employed for assessing the vertical variability of both the apparent soil cohesion provided by roots and the root water uptake. A one-dimensional model of vertical soil water dynamics is employed for simulating soil suction regime, assumed representative of well-drained soils on steep forested plane slopes. The geo-mechanical and the soil-hydrological effects on slope stability are examined with an infinite slope stability model, generalized for unsaturated conditions. We show that in the case of a loamy-sand soil under a Mediterranean climatic regime, the geo-mechanical effect tends to be more relevant than the soil-hydrological effect during the rainy season, within depths up to twice the average root depth.
|Titolo:||Role of vegetation on slope stability under transient unsaturated conditions|
|Autori:||G. B., Chirico; M., Borga; P., Tarolli; Rigon, Riccardo; F., Preti|
|Titolo del periodico:||PROCEDIA ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES|
|Anno di pubblicazione:||2013|
|Codice identificativo ISI:||WOS:000326900300102|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.proenv.2013.06.103|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||03.1 Articolo su rivista (Journal article)|