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Publication Information

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Title: Roots and the stability of forested slopes

Author: Ziemer, R. R.

Date: 1981

Source: In: Timothy R. H. Davies and Andrew J. Pearce (eds). Proceedings of the International Symposium on Erosion and Sediment Transport in Pacific Rim Steeplands, 1981 January 25-31, Christchurch, N.Z. Int. Assn. Hydrol. Sci. Pub. No. 132: 343-361.

Publication Series: Not categorized

Description: Abstract - Root decay after timber cutting can lead to slope failure. In situ measurements of soil with tree roots showed that soil strength increased linearly as root biomass increased. Forests clear-felled 3 years earlier contained about one-third of the root biomass of old-growth forests. Nearly all of the roots < 2 mm in diameter were gone from 7-year-old logged areas while about 30 percent of the < 17 mm fraction was found. Extensive brushfields occupied areas logged 12 to 24 years earlier. The biomass of brushfield roots < 2 mm in diameter was 80 percent of that in the uncut forest, and fewer large roots were found there than in the forest. Roots < 17 mm in diameter in the brushfield accounted for 30 percent of that found in the forest, and for total root biomass, only 10 percent. Individual, live brush roots were twice as strong as conifer roots of the same size. This difference may partially compensate for reduced root biomass in brushfields. Net strength of the soil-root matrix in brushfields was about 70 percent of that in uncut forests. If soils are barely stable with a forest cover, the loss of root strength following clear-felling can seriously affect slope stability

Keywords: PSW4351, slope failure, root decay, timber cutting, stability, brushfiel

Publication Notes:

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

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Ziemer, R. R. 1981. Roots and the stability of forested slopes. In: Timothy R. H. Davies and Andrew J. Pearce (eds). Proceedings of the International Symposium on Erosion and Sediment Transport in Pacific Rim Steeplands, 1981 January 25-31, Christchurch, N.Z. Int. Assn. Hydrol. Sci. Pub. No. 132: 343-361.

 


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