Bioengineering Solution to Prevent Rainfall-Induced Slope Failures in Tropical Soil | Land Portal

Resource information

Date of publication: 
March 2021
Resource Language: 
ISBN / Resource ID: 
License of the resource: 
Copyright details: 
© 2021 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article.

This paper presents test results of comprehensive laboratory and field-testing program efforts for the development of bioengineering solutions such as growing vegetation for protection of slopes from erosion and landslides in a tropical environmental setting. Saturated shear strength of soil was determined using direct shear tests and unsaturated soil properties, such as soil water retention curve (SWRC), were obtained using a computer-controlled hydraulic property analyzer (HYROP) system as well as a WP4C instrument. Climate data were obtained via field instrumentation and appropriate vegetation data were assumed to perform a finite element method-based transient seepage analysis and coupled slope stability analysis to test the potential of tropical hillslope to fail with and without vegetation over a period of one month. Results show that the factor of safety (FOS) for test slope considering case (a) the rainfall and bare ground, case (b) no rainfall with vegetation, and case (c) rainfall with vegetation were found to be 1.630, 1.763, and 1.650, respectively. Although FOS is marginally improved during storm events due to consideration of vegetation as compared to bare slope, this improvement in FOS is much pronounced during antecedent rainfall (i.e., long duration and small intensity) up to the first 26 days of analysis before the storm event (i.e., high intensity and short duration rainfall), which occurs on 27th day and can be instrumental in preventing slope failures. Similarly, the negative pore water pressure (i.e., matric suction) in the top layer is reduced for case (a) from −260 kPa to −40 kPa, increased for case (b) from −260 kPa to −320 kPa, and decreased for case (c) from −260 kPa to −60 kPa. The practical application of these findings is more applicable to the engineered slopes with vegetation during the dry season when the slope is more stable due to high FOS which, however, will need careful watering just to keep them healthy but prevent complete loss of developed matric suction resulting from root water uptake (RWU). In addition, the small improvement in FOS due to matric suction induced from RWU could play a key role in keeping the slope just stable during extreme storm events especially, when FOS of the bare slope is close to 1. To the best knowledge of the authors this is the first documented geotechnical study, using the tropical soil of Guam, which considers the hydro-mechanical effect of RWU-induced matric suction in slope stability analysis in a tropical setting.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Patil, Ujwalkumar D.
Shelton III, Austin J.
Aquino, Edriel


Data provider

Geographical focus

Related categories

Share this page