Root Characteristics of Herbaceous Species for Topsoil Stabilization in Restoration Projects

Abstract : Quarries are highly heterogeneous and constraining environments because of man-induced disturbances associated with soil erosion and shallow mass movements. Recognizing the importance of plant root systems to overcome stability problems, we investigated the contributions of three different herbaceous species typical of calcareous grasslands, that is, Anthyllis vulneraria, Bromus erectus and Stachys recta, to the stability of the superficial layers of dump deposits at limestone quarries in the Botticino extractive basin (Lombardy, Italy). We analysed (i) the root mechanical properties and root diameter distributions of the selected species and estimated (ii) the lateral root reinforcement they can provide through the fibre bundle model. To assess the effective contribution of a species to the topsoil stabilization, we implemented the results obtained in a stability model based on the ordinary method of slices. Our results showed that using species such as B.erectus and S.recta with a density of 100 plants per square metre guarantees a better stability of the superficial layers.
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Federica Gilardelli, Chiara Vergani, Rodolfo Gentili, Anne Bonis, Pierre Chanteloup, et al.. Root Characteristics of Herbaceous Species for Topsoil Stabilization in Restoration Projects. Land Degradation and Development, Wiley, 2017, 28 (7), pp.2074-2085. ⟨10.1002/ldr.2731⟩. ⟨hal-01631557⟩

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