Articles | Volume 5, issue 3
Earth Surf. Dynam., 5, 451–477, 2017
Earth Surf. Dynam., 5, 451–477, 2017

Research article 17 Aug 2017

Research article | 17 Aug 2017

Tree-root control of shallow landslides

Denis Cohen and Massimiliano Schwarz

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Cited articles

Amundson, R., Heimsath, A., Owen, J., Yoo, K., and Dietrich, W. E.: Hillslope soils and vegetation, Geomorphology, 234, 122–132,, 2015.
Askarinejad, A., Casini, F., Bischof, P., Beck, A., and Springman, S. M.: Rainfall induced instabilities: a field experiment on a silty sand slope in northern Switzerland, Italian Geotechnical Journal, 3, 50–71, 2012.
Bak, P., Tang, C., and Wiesenfeld, K.: Self-organized criticality, Phys. Rev. A, 38, 364–374,, 1988.
Bebi, P., Seidl, R., Motta, R., Fuhr, M., Firm, D., Krumm, F., Conedera, M., Ginzler, C., Wohlgemuth, T., and Kulakowski, D.: Changes of forest cover and disturbance regimes in the mountain forests of the Alps, Forest Ecol. Manag., 388, 43–56,, 2017.
Bellugi, D., Milledge, D. G., Dietrich, W. E., Perron, J. T., and McKean, J.: Predicting shallow landslide size and location across a natural landscape: Application of a spectral clustering search algorithm, J. Geophys. Res.-Earth, 120, 2552–2585,, 2015.
Short summary
Tree roots reinforce soils on slopes. A new slope stability model is presented that computes root reinforcement including the effects of root heterogeneities and dependence of root strength on tensile and compressive strain. Our results show that roots stabilize slopes that would otherwise fail under a rainfall event. Tension in roots is more effective than compression. Redistribution of forces in roots across the hillslope plays a key role in the stability of the slope during rainfall events.