Bioengineered Measures for Prevention of Proceeding Soil Degradation as a Result of Climate Change in South East Brazil

  • Anja Hebner
  • Kathrin Kopielski
  • Sven Dulleck
  • André GerthEmail author
  • Dietmar Sattler
  • Roman Seliger
  • Helga Restum Hissa
Part of the Climate Change Management book series (CCM)


As a consequence of increasing impact of climate change, particularly uncovered soils in Brazil are significantly vulnerable to soil erosion. Soil erosion, especially at sloped pastures leads to a loss of productive base for agriculture which negatively influences economy. Furthermore, these bare and compacted soils promote floods after heavy rainfall events. The application of efficient bioengineered measures adapted to local conditions can prevent expansion of soil degradation at exposed agriculture sites (pasture land). The objective is to regain a resilient soil covered by protective vegetation by less extended measures. A pasture at a slope of about 3.3 ha in Itaocara (Rio de Janeiro) is used for pilot test. The pasture land is highly affected by soil degradation, due to unsuitable soil management and overgrazing. Based on the results of geodetic survey by University of Leipzig suitable bioengineered measures were conducted using local available and inexpensive materials. Measures include installation of palisades made from eucalyptus and bamboo, development of bush layer/hedge terraces (pre-cultivated bushes placed on a terrace along contours) and transplantation of grass sods. All developed techniques are monitored for control of efficiency and sustainability.


Pasture Soil degradation Erosion Bioengineered measures Climate change 



Described pilot investigations were undertaken by Vita 34 (business Unit BioPlanta) in close collaboration with University of Leipzig. The project was co-financed by Federal Ministry for Education and Science of Germany (BMBF, support code: 033L162G). We like to thank BMBF and the Rio de Janeiro State Secretariat of Agriculture and Livestock (SEAPEC) which hosted the Rio Rural project for assistance. Further thanks belong to teams of EMATER-Rio, PESAGRO-Rio and EMBRAPA Solos for their support.


  1. Boardman J, Poesen J, Evans R (2003) Socio-economic factors in soil erosion and conservation. Environ Sci Policy 6(1):1–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bhandari G (2014) A review on soil erosion conservation measures in Nepal. Peak J Phys Environ Sci Res 2(3):41–47Google Scholar
  3. Blaschke PM, Trustrum NA, Hicks DL (2000) Impacts of mass movement erosion on land productivity: a review. Prog Phys Geogr 24(1):21–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Burri K, Grfa F, Böll A (2009) Revegetation measures improve soil aggregate stability: a case study of a landslide area in Central Switzerland. For Snow Landsc Res 82(1):45–60Google Scholar
  5. Dass A, Sudhishri S, Lenka NK, Patnaik US (2010) Runoff capture through vegetative barriers and planting methodologies to reduce erosion, and improve soil moisture, fertility and crop productivity in southern Orissa, India. Nutr Cycl Agroecosyst 89:45–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. de Araújo JC, Döll P, Güntner A, Krol M, Abreu CBR, Hauschild M, Mendiondo EM (2004) Water scarcity under scenarios for global climate change and regional development in semiarid Northeastern Brazil. Water Int 29(2):209–220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dereczynski C, Silva WL, Marengo J (2013) Detection and projections of climate change in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Am J Clim Chang 2(1):25–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Donat M (1995) Bioengineering techniques for streambank restoration: a review of central European practices. Watershed Restoration Project Report No 2, Province of British Columbia, Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks, and Ministry of ForestsGoogle Scholar
  9. DRZ Geotecnologia e Consultoria (2012) Plano Municipal de Saneamento Básico. Plano regional de saneamento com base municipalizada nas modalidades água, esgoto e drenagem urbana. Produto 4 – Diagnóstico setorial. – Itaocara, Rio de JaneiroGoogle Scholar
  10. Evette A, Labonne S, Rey F, Liebault F, Jancke O, Girel J (2009) History of bioengineering techniques for erosion control in rivers in Western Europe. Environ Manag 43(6):972–984CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Howell J (2001) Application of bio-engineering in slope stabilization: experience from Nepal. In: Tianchi L, Chalise SR, Upreti BN (eds) Landslide hazard mitigation in the Hindu Kush-Himalayas, pp 147–161Google Scholar
  12. IUSS Working Group WRB (2015) World reference base for soil resources 2014, updated 2015. International soil classification system for naming soils and creating legends for soil maps. World Soil Resources Reports No 106. Food & Agriculture Organization, RomeGoogle Scholar
  13. Lammeranner W, Rauch HP, Laaha G (2005) Implementation and monitoring of soil bioengineering measures at a landslide in the Middle Mountains of Nepal. Plant Soil 278:159–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Martinelli LA, Naylor R, Vitousek PM, Moutinho P (2010) Agriculture in Brazil: impacts, costs, and opportunities for a sustainable future. Curr Opin Environ Sustain 2:431–438CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Montgomery DR (2007) Soil erosion and agricultural sustainability. Proc Natl Acad Sci 104(33):13268–13272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Petrone A, Preti F (2008) Suitability of soil bioengineering techniques in Central America: a case study in Nicaragua. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci Discuss Eur Geosci Union 5(1):379–403CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Petrone A, Preti F (2009) Soil bioengineering for risk mitigation and environmental restoration in a humid tropical area. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 14:239–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Pimentel D, Burgess M (2013) Soil erosion threatens food production. Agriculture 3:443–463CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Pimentel D, Harvey C, Resosudarmo P, Sinclair K, Kurz D, MacNair M, Crist S, Shpritz L, Fitton L, Saffouri R, Blair R (2004) Environmental and economic cost of soil erosion and conservation benefits. Science 267:1117–1123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Pimentel D, Kounang N (1998) Ecology of soil erosion in ecosystems. Ecosystems 1:416–426CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Preti F, Giadrossich F (2009) Root reinforcement and slope bioengineering stabilization by Spanish Broom (Spartium junceum L.). Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 13:1713–1726CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Schiechtl HM (1985) FAO Watershed Management Field Manual/F2888—vegetative and soil treatment measures. Food & Agriculture Organization, RomeGoogle Scholar
  23. Selsam P, Schwartze C (2016) Remote sensing image analysis without expert knowledge—a web-based classification tool on top of Taverna workflow management system. World Multidisciplinary Earth Sciences Symposium, WMESS 2016, Prague (in press)Google Scholar
  24. Sparovek G, Correchel V, Barretto AG (2007) The risk of erosion in Brazilian cultivated pastures. Sci Agricola 64(1):77–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Stokes A, Grant BD, Fourcaud T, Giadrossich F, Gillies C, Hubble T, Kim JH, Loades KW, Mao Z, McIvor IR, Mickovski SB, Mitchell S, Osman N, Phillips C, Poesen J, Polster D, Preti F, Raymond P, Rey F, Schwarz M, Walker LR (2013) Ecological mitigation of hillslope instability: ten key issues facing researchers and practitioners. Agriculture 3:443–463CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Thomaz EL, Luiz JC (2010) Soil loss, soil degradation and rehabilitation in a degraded land area in Guarapuava (Brazil). Land Degrad Dev 23:72–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Van Oost K, Quine TA, Govers G, De Gryze S, Six J, Harden JW, Giraldez JV (2007) The impact of agricultural soil erosion on the global carbon cycle. Science 318(5850):626–629CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. van Oudenhoven APE, Veerkamp CJ, Alkemade R, Leemanns R (2015) Effects on different managements regimes on soil ersosion and surface runoff in semi-arid to sub-humid rangelands. J Arid Environ 121:100–111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Zuazo VHD, Pleguezuelo CRR (2007) Soil-erosion and runoff prevention by plant covers. A review. Agron Sustain Dev 28:65–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anja Hebner
    • 1
  • Kathrin Kopielski
    • 1
  • Sven Dulleck
    • 1
  • André Gerth
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dietmar Sattler
    • 2
  • Roman Seliger
    • 2
  • Helga Restum Hissa
    • 3
  1. 1.Vita 34 AG, Business Unit BioPlantaLeipzigGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Geography, Physical Geography and Environmental ResearchUniversity of LeipzigLeipzigGermany
  3. 3.Secretariat of Agriculture and Livestock of the State of Rio de Janeiro - SEAPEC, Rio Rural ProgrammeNiteroiBrazil

Personalised recommendations