Tree roots reduce landslide risk

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Researchers in Indonesia provide evidence of suitability of tree species in preventing landslides.


Watersheds usually provide water but occasionally they generate mudflows. Landslides are, together with floods, classified as ‘natural disasters’ but, in many cases, they have at least been aggravated by human activity.

Because deforestation is often part of the cause — along with a geological substrate, intense rainfall, a steep slope and a clear pathway to reach its victims — growing trees on slopes is expected to be part of the solution.

Does it matter which trees grow where? Do trees’ root systems indeed reduce landslide risks? How can we identify suitable tree species?

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