• Integration of root systems into a GIS-based slip surface model: computational experiments in a generic hillslope environment

    • Elmar M. Schmaltz
      Department of Geography and Regional Research, Faculty of Earth Sciences, Geography and Astronomy, University of Vienna
    • Martin Mergili
      Department of Geography and Regional Research, Faculty of Earth Sciences, Geography and Astronomy, University of Vienna
  • Root systems of trees reinforce the underlying soil in hillslope environments and therefore potentially increase slope stability. So far, the influence of root systems is disregarded in Geographic Information System (GIS) models that calculate slope stability along distinct failure plane. In this study, we analyse the impact of different root system compositions and densities on slope stability conditions computed by a GIS-based slip surface model. We apply the 2.5D slip surface model r.slope.stability to 23 root system scenarios imposed on pyramidoid-shaped elements of a generic landscape. Shallow, taproot and mixed root systems are approximated by paraboloids and different stand and patch densities are considered. The slope failure probability (Pf) is derived for each raster cell of the generic landscape, considering the reinforcement through root cohesion. Average and standard deviation of Pf are analysed for each scenario. As expected, the r.slope.stability yields the highest values of Pf for the scenario without roots. In contrast, homogeneous stands with taproot or mixed root systems yield the lowest values of Pf. Pf generally decreases with increasing stand density, whereby stand density appears to exert a more pronounced influence on Pf than patch density. For patchy stands, Pf increases with a decreasing size of the tested slip surfaces. The patterns yielded by the computational experiments are largely in line with the results of previous studies. This approach provides an innovative and simple strategy to approximate the additional cohesion supplied by root systems and thereby considers various compositions of forest stands in 2.5D slip surface models. Our findings will be useful for developing strategies towards appropriately parameterising root reinforcement in real-world slope stability modelling campaigns.

  • PDF

  • http://phaidra.univie.ac.at/o:937280

  • Article

  • Published Version

  • Landslides

  • 2018

  • 15

  • 8

  • 1561-1575

  • Springer Nature

  • English

  • Open access

  • CC BY Attribution 4.0 International
    © The Author(s) 2018

  • 1612-510X

  • Slip surface models; R.slope.stability; Root system morphology; Shallow landslides