Landscape and Ecological Engineering

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 37–50 | Cite as

How to renew soil bioengineering for slope stabilization: some proposals

  • Luca GiupponiEmail author
  • Gigliola Borgonovo
  • Annamaria Giorgi
  • Gian Battista Bischetti
Original Paper


Mountain environments play a crucial role in maintaining biodiversity despite becoming more vulnerable to colluvial processes primarily induced by extreme meteorological events. Soil bioengineering stabilizes mountain slopes and limits impacts on ecosystems and is increasingly used worldwide, yet its effectiveness requires better assessment through post-intervention environmental monitoring. However such studies are only rarely performed even though they are essential to improve future intervention. This study reports soil and vegetation monitoring data of an area in the Italian Alps in which soil bioengineering work was carried out to restore an area hit by landslides. The monitoring involved an analysis of the floristic-vegetational and ecological features of the plant communities of the area of the soil bioengineering intervention (and in adjacent areas), as well as an analysis of the chemical–physical characteristics of the soils (texture, pH, organic matter, nitrogen content, roots depth) where these communities were established. The results of the monitoring, analyzed in the overall framework of the state of the art of the sector, have highlighted some lines of research and action that should be undertaken by technicians, researchers, and politicians to innovate and to make work aimed at the stabilization of landslides more effective. In particular, it would be extremely useful to study the biotechnical characteristics of herbaceous plants that are still “unknown” in soil bioengineering and to evaluate their possible effects on ecosystems in order to produce seed mixtures that, besides being useful for soil stabilization, can accelerate vegetation dynamics, therefore maximizing the success of such works.


Soil bioengineering Seed mixture Best practices Ecological indices Green infrastructure Monitoring 



We would like to thank Francesco Centurioni for the help provided in collecting vegetational data and analyzing soil samples, and the Consorzio Forestale Alta Valle Camonica for providing information about the study area. This research was supported by the FISR-MIUR “Italian Mountain Lab” project.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

This work complies with Italian laws and the authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

11355_2018_359_MOESM1_ESM.xls (50 kb)
Supplementary Material 1. Phytosociological tables of relevés conducted in Alpe Mola (m = coefficient of maturity). The relevés are listed according to the sequence given by the cluster analysis. Cover indices refer to the Braun-Blanquet (1964) abundance/dominance scale: r = rare; + = < 1%; 1 = 1–5%; 2 = 6–25%; 3 = 26–50%; 4 = 51–75%; 5 = 76–100%. (XLS 50 kb)


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Copyright information

© International Consortium of Landscape and Ecological Engineering and Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre of Applied Studies for the Sustainable Management and Protection of Mountain Areas, Ge.S.Di.Mont.University of MilanEdoloItaly
  2. 2.Department of Food, Environmental and Nutritional SciencesUniversity of MilanMilanItaly
  3. 3.Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Production, Landscape and AgroenergyUniversity of MilanMilanItaly

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