Native roadside vegetation that enances soil erosion control in boreal Scandinavia

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A.K. Jägerbrand
Juha M. Alatalo

This study focused on identifying vegetation characteristics associated with erosion control at nine roadside sites in mid-West Sweden. A number of vegetation characteristics such as cover, diversity, plant functional type, biomass and plant community structure were included. Significant difference in cover between eroded and non-eroded sub-sites was found in evergreen shrubs, total cover, and total above ground biomass. Thus, our results support the use of shrubs in order to stabilize vegetation and minimize erosion along roadsides. However, shrubs are disfavored by several natural and human imposed factors. This could have several impacts on the long-term management of roadsides in boreal regions. By both choosing and applying active management that supports native evergreen shrubs in boreal regions, several positive effects could be achieved along roadsides, such as lower erosion rate and secured long-term vegetation cover. This could also lead to lower costs for roadside maintenance as lower erosion rates would require less frequent stabilizing treatments and mowing could be kept to a minimum in order not to disfavor shrubs.                                                                                                             

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