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An investigation of plant-induced suction and its implications for slope stability

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Anil Yildiz



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Both above- and below-ground biomass of plants provide additional strength to soil through different mechanisms, which help to increase the stability of a vegetated slope. Nonetheless, shallow landslides on steep slopes covered with vegetation still occur, often being triggered above the groundwater table, due to loss of suction subsequent to rainfall. Therefore, it is essential to know to what extent vegetation enhances slope stability, and to quantify the contribution of vegetation to the shear strength of soil to determine factors of safety. Results of large-scale direct shear experiments on root-permeated soils and slope geometry from a landslide database were synthesised through an infinite slope analysis under partially saturated conditions to find critical combinations of slope angle and suction stress. Monte Carlo simulations yielded a clear separation of stable and unstable zones, which can be used to define the susceptibility of a slope to near surface failure. This method, based on the simulations, has the potential to be used as a regional early warning system.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Yildiz A, Graf F, Springman SM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Geotechnical Engineering

Year: 2019

Pages: epub ahead of print

Online publication date: 28/03/2019

Acceptance date: 25/03/2019

Date deposited: 02/08/2019

ISSN (print): 1353-2618

ISSN (electronic): 1751-8563

Publisher: ICE Publishing


DOI: 10.1680/jgeen.18.00218


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