Root Characteristics of Afromontane Woody and Graminoid Plant Species and their Contribution to Slope Stability

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Plant roots play vital role to stabilize riverbanks, landslides and gullies by increasing the shear strength of the soil. The root characteristics of plants varied depending on the plant species, the growing environment and soil conditions. Hence,
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  Root Characteristics of Afromontane Woody and Graminoid Plant Species and their Contribution to Slope Stability Ayalew Talema 1 , Roc Padro 2 , Jan Diels 3 , Jean Poesen 4 and Bart Muys 5 1. Jimma University, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Ethiopia, 2. University of Lleida, Spain , 3. KU Leuven, Division of Soil and WaterManagement, Belgium, 4. KU Leuven, Division of Forest, Nature and Landscape, Belgium, 5. KU Leuven, Division of Geography, BelgiumCorresponding email address: ayalewtalema@ju.edu.et, ayalewtalema.legass@student.kuleuven.be Introduction: severeriverbank and gully erosion, landslide and siltation of dams. Limited knowledgeon the hydro-mechanical properties of multipurpose plants in humid tropics. Objective :toquantifymechanicalpropertiesofmultipurposeplantsandeventuallytodevelopa methodology for selecting suitable plants to stabilize slopes in humid tropical environments   Universal tensile strength testerStabilized riverbank Unstable riverbank Application to Dense root system of PennisetumRoot mechanics vs. slope stability Materials and Methods: Site: Gilgel Gibe catchment, Southwest Ethiopia. Sample size: Twelve plant species at the age of 3, 6 and 9 years old with three replications at each ageStudy variables: Root tensile strength (Tr), root area ratio(RAR) and soil cohesion due to roots (Cr). Preliminary sp. selection: Multicriteria technique based on focus group discussions with the local community. Models used: A p o s  t   e r  pr  e  s  e n t   e  d i  n J  oi  n t  P h D- S  t   u d  e n t   d  a y , 8 F  e  b r  u ar  y2  0 1 2  , Uni   v e r  s i   t   y of  L i   è   g e  , G e m b l   o ux Application toStudysiteRoots for Trmeasurement G. robusta has higher Trthan all other species at age class 6. and 9. The highest RAR is recorded for  A. abyssinica and as a result its Cr value is also significantly higher .Conclusion : Root characteristics are significantly determined by the type of species and root diameter of each species. The relation between root tensile strength and age of the species is species specific. For some species tensile strength is higher at younger plants and vice versa for other sp. Bibliography : Abernethy and Rutherfurd (2001).  Hydrol. Process . 15: 63–79  ; De Baets et al. (2009).  Earth Surf. Process. Landforms 34:1374; Genet et al. (2010).  Ecological Engineering 36: 265–275; Gysselset al., 2005.  Progress in Physical Geography 29 (2): 189-217; Reubens et al. (2009). Plant Soil:324:131–156; Wu et al. (1979). Canadian Geotechnical Journal 16(1): 19–33; Devi et al. (2008).  BioresourceTechnology 99: 975–979 .This is PhD work being done in the context of the IUC-JU project with financial support from VLIR-UOS. ∑ == i wiiwr   Aan A A RAR 2 DF  Π= max 4Tr )(1.2Tr Cr wr   A A =
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