Assessing the contribution of vegetation to slope stability

Greenwood, J.R., Norris, J.E. and Wint, J., 2004. Assessing the contribution of vegetation to slope stability. Proceedings of the ICE - Geotechnical Engineering, 157 (4), pp. 199-207. ISSN 1353-2618

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Many embankments and cuttings associated with the transportation infrastructure in the UK are only marginally stable. Engineering techniques such as soil nailing, geosynthetic reinforcement, improved drainage and ground improvement by stabilisation are available to improve stability but the cost can be high. A lower cost solution may be to utilise vegetation, either self seeded or planted. The benefits and drawbacks associated with vegetation have been the subject of some debate. The problems caused by vegetation in relation to building foundations are well documented and confirm that vegetation can have very significant influences on geotechnical parameters. Appropriate properly maintained vegetation can have the same significant influence to help provide additional stability to soil slopes. This paper considers the potential engineering influences of vegetation and how it can be characterised on site within a geotechnical framework for stability assessments. The direct reinforcement available from the roots of trees and shrubs is identified as providing one of the most significant contributions to slope stability. Case studies in the UK, Greece and Italy demonstrate how results from in-situ root pull out tests may be used to estimate the potential reinforcement forces available from the roots. A scheme is presented to designate zones of influence within the soil according to the size and nature of the vegetation.

Item Type: Journal article
Description: The original publication is available at
Publication Title: Proceedings of the ICE - Geotechnical Engineering
Creators: Greenwood, J.R., Norris, J.E. and Wint, J.
Publisher: Springer Verlag
Date: 2004
Volume: 157
Number: 4
ISSN: 1353-2618
Divisions: Schools > School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment
Record created by: EPrints Services
Date Added: 09 Oct 2015 10:02
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2016 09:07

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