Construction of engineering structures is expensive, so in our case, there is a need for alternative conservation methods which can be adopted with less expenditure, use locally available materials, and are environmentally friendly measures, which is called bio-engineering.
Bioengineering is the use of living vegetation either alone or in conjunction with civil engineering structures and non-living plant materials to reduce shallow seated instability and soil erosion on slopes.
Engineering functions of Plants
Following are the different engineering functions of vegetation:
- Drain Function
- Armour Function
- Catch Function
- Support Function
- Reinforce Function
- Anchor Function
The planting configuration of the vegetation can enhance drainage or water
The vegetation absorbs the energy of falling rain and, like an armour, protects the slope against surface erosion from both the rain splash effect and runoff.
Eroding material moving down a slope, as a result of gravity alone or with the aid of water can be intercepted by stems of vegetation (grass stems and trunks) or by the protruding element of the bio-engineering structure.
The vegetation supports the soil mass by buttressing and arching.
Vegetation reinforces the soil by providing a network of roots that increases the geotechnical properties of the soil: resistance to shear, and cohesion. Plant roots are effective at reinforcing the soil.
Anchor the surface material by extending roots through potential failure planes into firmer strata below. Big tap roots are good for deeper failure planes.