Next Article in Journal
Carbon Storage Dynamics of Secondary Forest Succession in the Central Loess Plateau of China
Previous Article in Journal
Importance of the Local Environment on Nutrient Cycling and Litter Decomposition in a Tall Eucalypt Forest
Open AccessArticle

Root Biomechanical Traits in a Montane Mediterranean Forest Watershed: Variations with Species Diversity and Soil Depth

1
CURSA—University Consortium for Environmental Research, 00161 Rome, Italy
2
Institute for Agricultural and Forest Systems in the Mediterranean, National Research Council of Italy, 80056 Napoli, Italy
3
Department of Innovation in Biological, Agro-food and Forest Systems, University of Tuscia, 01100 Viterbo, Italy
4
Institute for Agricultural and Forest Systems in the Mediterranean, National Research Council of Italy, 87036 Rende (CS), Italy
5
Mountain Societies Research Institute, University of Central Asia, Khorog 736000, Tajikistan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2019, 10(4), 341; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10040341
Received: 13 February 2019 / Revised: 9 April 2019 / Accepted: 16 April 2019 / Published: 17 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)
Plant roots play a key role in stabilizing slopes, particularly in the Mediterranean region, characterized by rough and unstable terrain. However, forest species differ in their stabilizing capacities. The purpose of this study is to fill the gap of knowledge on root biomechanical properties of relevant Mediterranean trees and shrubs in relation to slope stability. Root specimens of typical montane Mediterranean tree and shrub species were sampled in Southern Italy. Root characteristics, such as tensile strength (Tr) and root area ratio (RAR), were assessed from live roots sampled in trenches, while root cohesion was calculated. Power law functions yielded the best fit for the relationship of Tr versus root diameter; however, no significant relationship was found between root strength and root moisture content. RAR varied amongst different tree and shrub species. Roots of Quercus cerris L. were the most resistant to breaking under tension, while roots of Ilex aquifolium L. had the highest tensile strength among all shrub species. Results provide quantitative information on the role of root systems of montane Mediterranean forest species in stabilizing soils and will improve modeling of landslide susceptibility to the prevention and mitigation of natural hazards in mountain environments. View Full-Text
Keywords: root tensile strength; root area ratio; root cohesion; slope stability; forest management; landslides; Mediterranean species; natural hazards; protection forests; soil bioengineering root tensile strength; root area ratio; root cohesion; slope stability; forest management; landslides; Mediterranean species; natural hazards; protection forests; soil bioengineering
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

MDPI and ACS Style

Moresi, F.V.; Maesano, M.; Matteucci, G.; Romagnoli, M.; Sidle, R.C.; Scarascia Mugnozza, G. Root Biomechanical Traits in a Montane Mediterranean Forest Watershed: Variations with Species Diversity and Soil Depth. Forests 2019, 10, 341.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Back to TopTop