Root reinforcement of soils under compression

Schwarz, Massimiliano; Rist, Armin; Cohen, D.; Giadrossich, F.; Egorov, P.; Büttner, D.; Stolz, Martin; Thormann, Jean-Jacques (2015). Root reinforcement of soils under compression Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 120(10), pp. 2103-2120. Wiley-Blackwell 10.1002/2015JF003632

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It is well recognized that roots reinforce soils and that the distribution of roots within vegetated hillslopes strongly influences the spatial distribution of soil strength. Previous studies have focussed on the contribution of root reinforcement under conditions of tension or shear. However, no systematic investigation into the contribution of root reinforcement to soils experiencing compression, such as the passive Earth forces at the toe of a landslide, is found in the literature. An empirical‐analytical model (CoRoS) for the quantification of root reinforcement in soils under compression is presented and tested against experimental data. The CoRoS model describes the force‐displacement behavior of compressed, rooted soils and can be used to provide a framework for improving slope stability calculations. Laboratory results showed that the presence of 10 roots with diameters ranging from 6 to 28 mm in a rectangular soil profile 0.72 m by 0.25 m increased the compressive strength of the soil by about 40% (2.5 kN) at a displacement of 0.05 m, while the apparent stiffness of the rooted soil was 38% higher than for root‐free soil. The CoRoS model yields good agreement with experimentally determined values of maximum reinforcement force and compression force as a function of displacement. These results indicate that root reinforcement under compression has a major influence on the mechanical behavior of soil and that the force‐displacement behavior of roots should be included in analysis of the compressive regimes that commonly are present in the toe of landslides.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


Schwarz, Massimiliano0000-0003-4652-8102;
Rist, Armin;
Cohen, D.;
Giadrossich, F.;
Egorov, P.;
Büttner, D.;
Stolz, Martin and
Thormann, Jean-Jacques


G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > QK Botany
S Agriculture > SD Forestry








Simon Lutz

Date Deposited:

17 Dec 2019 12:07

Last Modified:

18 Dec 2020 13:29

Publisher DOI:





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