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Modelling the effect of forest cover on shallow landslides at the river basin scale

Lookup NU author(s): Dr James Bathurst, Dr Isabella Bovolo


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The potential for reducing the occurrence of shallow landslides through targeted reforestation of critical parts of a river basin is explored through mathematical modelling. Through the systematic investigation of land management options, modelling allows the optimum strategies to be selected ahead of any real intervention in the basin. Physically based models, for which the parameters can be evaluated using physical reasoning. offer particular advantages for predicting the effects of possible future changes in land use and climate. Typically a physically based landslide model consists of a coupled hydrological model (for soil moisture) and a geotechnical slope stability model, along with an impact model, such as basin sediment yield. An application of the SHETRAN model to the 65.8-km(2) Guabalcon basin in central Ecuador demonstrates a technique for identifying the areas of a basin most susceptible to shallow landslicling and for quantifying the effects of different vegetation covers on landslide incidence. Thus, for the modelled scenario, increasing root cohesion from 300 to 1500 Pa causes a two-thirds reduction in the number of landslides. Useful information can be obtained even on the basis of imperfect data availability but model output should be interpreted carefully in the light of parameter uncertainty. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bathurst JC, Bovolo CI, Cisneros F

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Ecological Engineering

Year: 2010

Volume: 36

Issue: 3

Pages: 317-327

ISSN (print): 0925-8574

ISSN (electronic): 1872-6992

Publisher: Elsevier BV


DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2009.05.001


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Funder referenceFunder name
INCO-CT2004-510739European Commission