Plant root and rhizome strength: Are there differences between and within species and rivers?
Earth Surface Processes and Landforms
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© 2018 The Authors. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. The strength and architecture of roots and other below-ground organs of riparian and aquatic plants affect plant resistance to uprooting and contribute to reinforcing river bank, bar and bed materials. Therefore, root properties are an important element in models for estimating river bank stability and such models may focus on the role of plants by using root strength–diameter relationships for the particular plant species that are present. Here we explore the degree to which there appear to be significant differences in strength–diameter relationships between and within species-specific data sets obtained for two riparian tree/shrub (Populus nigra, Salix alba) and two emergent aquatic macrophyte (Sparganium erectum, Phalaris arundinacea) species in different European river environments. While the analysed data sets were not specifically collected to answer these research questions, the results are sufficiently compelling to make the case for the collection of a more comprehensive data set and its rigorous analysis. This would allow recommendations to be made on the degree to which (i) species-specific or more general relationships between root/rhizome strength and diameter are appropriate, (ii) such relationships are applicable within and between rivers in different geographical regions and subject to different local environmental conditions, and (iii) further (minimalist) field observations are needed to calibrate such relationships for investigations of new locales or species. © 2018 The Authors. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
AuthorsGurnell, AM; Holloway, JV; Liffen, T; Serlet, AJ; Zolezzi, G
- Geography