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History of Bioengineering Techniques for Erosion Control in Rivers in Western Europe

  • Andre Evette
  • Sophie Labonne
  • Freddy Rey
  • Frederic Liebault
  • Oliver Jancke
  • Jacky Girel
Article

Abstract

Living plants have been used for a very long time throughout the world in structures against soil erosion, as traces have been found dating back to the first century BC. Widely practiced in Western Europe during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, bioengineering was somewhat abandoned in the middle of the twentieth century, before seeing a resurgence in recent times. Based on an extensive bibliography, this article examines the different forms of bioengineering techniques used in the past to manage rivers and riverbanks, mainly in Europe. We compare techniques using living material according to their strength of protection against erosion. Many techniques are described, both singly and in combination, ranging from tree planting or sowing seeds on riverbanks to dams made of fascine or wattle fences. The recent appearance of new materials has led to the development of new techniques, associated with an evolution in the perception of riverbanks.

Keywords

Biotechnical engineering Soil bioengineering Streambank stabilization Ecological engineering 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We warmly thank Thomas Spiegelberger, Maryse Berlandis and Vito Bacci (Cemagref Grenoble) for their translation of articles into German and Italian, and Nicole Sardat for her work on the figures. We sincerely thank Daniel Vischer for providing images and for his authorization to publish them. We are also very grateful to two anonymous referees who helped to improve the quality of the manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andre Evette
    • 1
  • Sophie Labonne
    • 1
  • Freddy Rey
    • 1
  • Frederic Liebault
    • 2
  • Oliver Jancke
    • 1
  • Jacky Girel
    • 3
  1. 1.UR EMGRCemagrefSt-Martin-d’Hères CedexFrance
  2. 2.UR ETGRCemagrefSt-Martin-d’Hères CedexFrance
  3. 3.Laboratoire d’Écologie Alpine, UMR 5553Université Joseph FourierGrenoble Cedex 9France

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