Please wait a minute...
Journal of Arid Land  2019, Vol. 11 Issue (1): 86-96    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-018-0021-2
Orginal Article     
Soil fixation and erosion control by Haloxylon persicum roots in arid lands, Iran
Department of Forestry and Forest Economics, Faculty of Natural Resources, University of Tehran, Karaj 31587-77871, Iran
Download: HTML     PDF(226KB)
Export: BibTeX | EndNote (RIS)      


Vegetation roots contribute to soil fixation and reinforcement, thus improving soil resistance against erosion. Generally, the amount of soil fixation presented by roots mainly depends on root density and tensile strength. In the present study, we conducted the research in order to further understand the biotechnical properties of Haloxylon persicum and also to quantify its role in increasing soil cohesion in arid lands of Iran. Ten H. persicum shrubs were randomly selected for root distribution and strength investigations, in which five samples were set on flat terrain and other five samples on a moderate slope terrain. The profile trench method was used to assess the root area ratio (RAR) as the index of root density and distribution. Two profiles were dug around each sample, up and downslope for sloped treatment and north and south sides for flat treatment. The results showed that RAR increased with increasing soil depth and significantly decreased in 40-50 cm layers of downhill (0.320%) and 50-60 cm for uphill (0.210%). The minimum values for the northward and southward profiles were 0.003% and 0.003%, respectively, while the maximum values were 0.260% and 0.040%, respectively. The relationship between the diameter of root samples and root tensile strength followed a negative power function, but tensile force increased with increasing root diameter following a positive power function. The pattern of increased cohesion changes in soil profile was relatively similar to RAR curves. The maximum increased cohesion due to the presence of roots in uphill and downhill sides were 0.470 and 1.400 kPa, respectively. In the flat treatment, the maximum increased cohesions were 0.570 and 0.610 kPa in northward and southward profiles, respectively. The analysis of variance showed that wind and slope induced stresses did not have any significant effect on the amount of increased cohesion of H. persicum. The findings served to develop knowledge about biotechnical properties of H. persicum root system that can assist in assessing the efficiency of afforestation and restoration measures for erosion control in arid lands.

Key wordsbiotechnical properties      increased soil cohesion      profile trench method      root area ratio (RAR)      tensile strength     
Received: 12 August 2017      Published: 10 February 2019
Corresponding Authors:
Cite this article:

ABDI Ehsan, R SALEH Hamid, MAJNONIAN Baris, DELJOUEI Azade. Soil fixation and erosion control by Haloxylon persicum roots in arid lands, Iran. Journal of Arid Land, 2019, 11(1): 86-96.

URL:     OR

[1] Abdi E, Majnounian B, Genet M, et al.2010. Quantifying the effects of root reinforcement of Persian Ironwood (Parrotia persica) on slope stability; a case study: Hillslope of Hyrcanian forests, northern Iran. Ecological Engineering, 36(10): 1409-1416.
[2] Abdi E.2014. Effect of Oriental beech root reinforcement on slope stability (Hyrcanian Forest, Iran). Journal of Forest Science, 60(4): 166-173.
[3] Abernethy B, Rutherfurd I D.2000. The effect of riparian tree roots on the mass-stability of riverbanks. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 25(9): 921-937.
[4] Bischetti G B, Chiaradia E A, Simonato T, et al.2005. Root strength and root area ratio of forest species in Lombardy (Northern Italy). Plant and Soil, 278(1-2): 11-22.
[5] B#xF6;hm W.1979. Methods of Studying Root Systems, Ecological Studies 33 . Berlin:Springer-Verlag, 190.
[6] Burylo M, Hudek C, Rey F.2011. Soil reinforcement by the roots of six dominant species on eroded mountainous marly slopes (Southern Alps, France). Catena, 84(1-2): 70-78.
[7] Cofie P, Koolen A J.2001. Test speed and other factors affecting the measurements of tree root properties used in soil reinforcement models. Soil and Tillage Research, 63(1-2): 51-56.
[8] Dai Y, Zheng Z J, Tang L S, et al.2015. Stable oxygen isotopes reveal distinct water use patterns of two Haloxylon species in the Gurbantonggut Desert. Plant and Soil, 389(1-2): 73-87.
[9] De Baets S, Poesen J, Reubens B, et al.2008. Root tensile strength and root distribution of typical Mediterranean plant species and their contribution to soil shear strength. Plant and Soil, 307(1-2): 207-226.
[10] Genet M, Stokes A, Salin F, et al.2005. The influence of cellulose content on tensile strength in tree roots. Plant and Soil, 278(1-2): 1-9.
[11] Genet M, Stokes A, Fourcaud T, et al.2006. Soil fixation by tree roots: changes in root reinforcement parameters with age in Cryptomeria japonica D. Don. plantations. In: Marui H, Marutani T, Watanabe N, et al. Disaster Mitigation of Debris Flows, Slope Failures and Landslides. Tokyo: Universal Academy Press, 535-542.
[12] Genet M, Kokutse N, Stokes A, et al.2008. Root reinforcement in plantations of Cryptomeria japonica D. Don: effect of tree age and stand structure on slope stability. Forest Ecology and Management, 256(8): 1517-1526.
[13] Gray D H, Sotir R B.1996. Biotechnical and Soil Bioengineering Slope Stabilisation: a Practical Guide for Erosion Control. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 378.
[14] Greenway D R.1987. Vegetation and slope stability. In: Anderson M F, Richards K S. Slope Stability. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 240.
[15] Jazirei M H.2009. Dryland Afforestation. Tehran: University of Tehran Press, 452.
[16] Khosroshahi M, Kalirad A, Hossaini Marandy H.2011. Comparison of geological and climatological deserts domain of Iran. Iranian Journal of Range and Desert Research, 18(2): 336-352.
[17] Lateh H, Avani N, Habibi Bibalani G.2014. Investigation of root distribution and tensile strength of Acacia mangium Willd (Fabaceae) in the rainforest. Greener Journal of Biological Sciences, 4(2): 45-52.
[18] Mao Z, Saint-André L, Genet M, et al.2012. Engineering ecological protection against landslides in diverse mountain forests: choosing cohesion models. Ecological Engineering, 45: 55-69.
[19] Mattia C, Bischetti G B, Gentile F.2005. Biotechnical characteristics of root systems of typical Mediterranean species. Plant and Soil, 278(1-2): 23-32.
[20] Nilaweera N S, Nutalaya P.1999. Role of tree roots in slope stabilization. Bulletin of Engineering Geology and the Environments, 57(4): 337-342.
[21] Nosrati K, Zare S, Egan T P.2013. Breaking seed dormancy in the white saxaul tree (Haloxylon persicum Boiss. et buhse) Amaranthaceae. Journal of Plant Nutrition, 36(12): 1821-1828.
[22] Pollen N.2007. Temporal and spatial variability in root reinforcement of streambanks: accounting for soil shear strength and moisture. Catena, 69(3): 197-205.
[23] Pollen N, Simon A.2005. Estimating the mechanical effects of riparian vegetation on stream bank stability using a fiber bundle model. Water Resources Research. 41(7): 1-11.
[24] Pyankov V I, Black Jr C C, Artyusheva E G, et al.1999. Features of photosynthesis in Haloxylon species of Chenopodiaceae that are dominant plants in Central Asian Deserts. Plant and Cell Physiology, 40(2): 125-134.
[25] Schmid I, Kazda M.2001. Vertical distribution and radial growth of coarse roots in pure and mixed stands of Fagus sylvatica and Picea abies. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 31(3): 539-548.
[26] Schwarz M, Cohen D, Or D.2012. Spatial characterization of root reinforcement at stand scale: Theory and case study. Geomorphology, 171-172: 190-200.
[27] Schwarz M, Giadrossich F, Cohen D.2013. Modeling root reinforcement using a root-failure Weibull survival function. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 17(11): 4367-4377.
[28] Simon A, Pollen N, Langendoen E.2006. Influence of two woody riparian species on critical conditions for streambank stability: upper Truckee River, California. Journal of the American Water Resources Association, 42(1): 99-113.
[29] Stokes A.2002. Biomechanics of tree root anchorage. In: Waisel Y, Eshel A, Kafkafi U. Plant Roots, the Hidden Half. New York: Marcel Dekker Press, 269-286.
[30] Stokes A, Norris J E, Van Beek L P H, et al. 2008. How vegetation reinforces soil on slopes. In: Norris J E, Stokes A, Mickovski S B, et al. Slope Stability and Erosion Control: Ecotechnological Solutions. Netherlands:Springer , 65-118.
[31] Sun H L, Li S C, Xiong W L, et al.2008. Influence of slope on root system anchorage of Pinus yunnanensis. Ecological Engineering, 32(1): 60-67.
[32] Tobe K, Li X M, Omasa K.2000. Effects of sodium chloride on seed germination and growth of two Chinese desert shrubs, Haloxylon ammodendron and H. persicum (Chenopodiaceae). Australian Journal of Botany, 48(4): 455-460.
[33] Vergani C, Chiaradia E A, Bischetti G B.2012. Variability in the tensile resistance of roots in Alpine forest tree species. Ecological Engineering, 46: 43-56.
[34] Waldron L J.1977. The shear resistance of root-permeated homogenous and stratified soil. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 41(5): 843-849.
[35] Wu T H, McKinnell W P, Swanston D N.1979. Strength of tree roots and landslides on Prince of Wales Island, Alaska. Canadian Geotechnical Journal, 16(1): 19-33.
No related articles found!