Journal of Arid Land

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 86–96 | Cite as

Soil fixation and erosion control by Haloxylon persicum roots in arid lands, Iran

  • Ehsan AbdiEmail author
  • Hamid R. Saleh
  • Baris Majnonian
  • Azade Deljouei


Vegetation roots contribute to soil fixation and reinforcement, thus improving soil resistance against erosion. Generally, the amount of soil fixation presented by roots mainly depends on root density and tensile strength. In the present study, we conducted the research in order to further understand the biotechnical properties of Haloxylon persicum and also to quantify its role in increasing soil cohesion in arid lands of Iran. Ten H. persicum shrubs were randomly selected for root distribution and strength investigations, in which five samples were set on flat terrain and other five samples on a moderate slope terrain. The profile trench method was used to assess the root area ratio (RAR) as the index of root density and distribution. Two profiles were dug around each sample, up and downslope for sloped treatment and north and south sides for flat treatment. The results showed that RAR increased with increasing soil depth and significantly decreased in 40–50 cm layers of downhill (0.320%) and 50–60 cm for uphill (0.210%). The minimum values for the northward and southward profiles were 0.003% and 0.003%, respectively, while the maximum values were 0.260% and 0.040%, respectively. The relationship between the diameter of root samples and root tensile strength followed a negative power function, but tensile force increased with increasing root diameter following a positive power function. The pattern of increased cohesion changes in soil profile was relatively similar to RAR curves. The maximum increased cohesion due to the presence of roots in uphill and downhill sides were 0.470 and 1.400 kPa, respectively. In the flat treatment, the maximum increased cohesions were 0.570 and 0.610 kPa in northward and southward profiles, respectively. The analysis of variance showed that wind and slope induced stresses did not have any significant effect on the amount of increased cohesion of H. persicum. The findings served to develop knowledge about biotechnical properties of H. persicum root system that can assist in assessing the efficiency of afforestation and restoration measures for erosion control in arid lands.


biotechnical properties increased soil cohesion profile trench method root area ratio (RAR) tensile strength 


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We would like to thank Dr. Chiara VERGANI for her supportive comments and reviews in the early versions of this paper. The authors also express their sincere appreciation to the three anonymous reviewers for their helpful and valuable comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© China Science Publishing Media Ltd. (Science Press) and Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ehsan Abdi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hamid R. Saleh
    • 1
  • Baris Majnonian
    • 1
  • Azade Deljouei
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Forestry and Forest Economics, Faculty of Natural ResourcesUniversity of TehranKarajIran

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