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Use of vegetation in civil engineering

The guide gives the background to bioengineering and practical information on the design and implementation of vegetative methods for slope stabilisation, water erosion control, watercourse and shoreline protection, wind erosion control, shelter, noise reduction, surface protection and trafficability.

Available from Waterstones


Vegetation and slope stability

Vegetation and slope stability are interrelated by the ability of the plant life growing on slopes to both promote and hinder the stability of the slope. The relationship is a complex combination of the type of soil, the rainfall regime, the plant species present, the slope aspect, and the steepness of the slope. Knowledge of the underlying slope stability as a function of the soil type, its age, horizon development, compaction, and other impacts is a major underlying aspect of understanding how vegetation can alter the stability of the slope. (Mattia et al. 2005).

There are four major ways in which vegetation influences slope stability: wind throwing, the removal of water, mass of vegetation (surcharge), and mechanical reinforcement of roots.


Water Bioengineering Techniques

Water and ground bioengineering techniques combine the expertise of civil engineers, landscape architects, botanists and ecologists, and increasingly are being used to protect and restore the natural environment.

This practical handbook shows how vegetation can be used for the protection, stabilisation and ecological enhancement of riverbanks and shores. It covers a range of techniques from wholly vegetative 'soft' techniques to 'semi-hard' or composite structures with vegetative inclusions. A chapter on bioengineering techniques in earth dam and floodbank construction is also included. Together with its companion book, Ground Bioengineering Techniques, this handbook on water bioengineering provides a rare opportunity to gain insight into the approach of its chief proponents--Professor H.M. Schiechtl and his colleague, Dr R. Stern--in the use of vegetation for the engineering and ecological and visual enhancement of waterways and shorelines.


Vegetation and Slopes: Stabilisation, Protection and Ecology

  • Editor: D Barker
  • Hardbound ISBN: 978-0-7277-2031-3
  • Ebook ISBN: 978-0-7277-4032-8
  • Publication Date: April 1995
  • DOI: 10.1680/vasspae.20313
  • Format: Hardbound, Electronic

Recent concerns over the durability and whole-life costs of systems such as steel and concrete, has focused attention on the self-repairing ability of vegetation, and its low-tech and low whole-life cost and maintenance requirements. The awareness of the beneficial effects of vegetation has been increasing within the civil engineering profession, and qualitative knowledge based on observations and experience has been augmented by field and laboratory testing throughout the world.

Institution Of Civil Engineers