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Paper birch and lodgepole pine root reinforcement in coarse-, medium-, and fine-textured soils

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The increased soil cohesion or reinforcement provided by roots varies among plant species and soil types. This study compared the contribution of paper birch (Betula papyrifera Marsh.) and lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta Dougl. ex Loud. var. latifolia Engelm.) roots to soil shear resistance in two controlled environment experiments. Roots of paper birch and lodgepole pine trees contributed to a significant increase in soil shear resistance, regardless of soil type. At a shear depth of 0.20 to 0.44 m, paper birch contributed greater reinforcement than lodgepole pine. Both birch and pine provided the most root reinforcement in coarse-textured soil and the least reinforcement in medium-textured silt soil. Soil texture, porosity, and shear strength may have affected root branching of the two species, which in turn may have affected root reinforcement. At less than 1 year of age, paper birch trees planted as plugs can substantially increase soil shear strength compared with lodgepole pine in all soil types.

L'amélioration ou le renforcement de la cohésion du sol qu'apportent les racines varie selon les espèces de plante et les types de sol. Cette étude a comparé la contribution des racines du bouleau blanc (Betula papyrifera Marsh.) et du pin lodgepole (Pinus contorta Dougl. ex Loud. var. latifolia Engelm.) à la résistance au cisaillement du sol dans deux expériences en milieu contrôlé. Les racines du bouleau blanc et du pin lodgepole ont contribué à accroître de façon significative la résistance au cisaillement, sans égard au type de sol. À une profondeur de cisaillement de 0,20 à 0,44 m, le bouleau blanc apportait un meilleur renforcement que le pin lodgepole. Avec les deux espèces, le meilleur renforcement par les racines a été observé dans le sol à texture grossière, et le moins bon, dans le sol à texture limoneuse. La texture du sol, la porosité et la force de cisaillement peuvent avoir affecté le branchement racinaire des deux espèces, lequel peut en retour avoir affecté le renforcement par les racines. Âgés de moins de 1 an, les semis de bouleau blanc plantés en douille peuvent substantiellement accroître la force de cisaillement du sol, comparativement au pin lodgepole dans tous les types de sols.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2003-08-01

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