• Utilizing palm-leaf geotextiles to control soil erosion on roadside slopes in Lithuania

      Jankauskas, Benediktas; Jankauskienė, Genovaitė; Fullen, Michael A.; Booth, Colin A. (Lithuanian Academy of Sciences, 2008)
      Soil erosion is a global environmental problem. There are many potential soil conservation measures suitable for arable soils in Lithuania. However, specific strategies are required on industrial slopes, where plant cover is often destroyed by machinery, and soil truncation may occur. Problems may arise due to exposure of deeper soils deficient in soil organic matter, which are especially vulnerable to water and wind erosion. Geotextiles are one of the methods identified suitable for soil stabilization on such engineered industrial slopes. Geotextiles are potentially excellent biodegradable and environmentally-friendly materials useful for soil conservation. The application of geotextile mats, constructed from the palm leaves of Borassus aethiopum (Borassus) and Mauritia flexuosa (Buriti), has been investigated at the Kaltinenai Research Station of the Lithuanian Institute of Agriculture which is participating in the EU-funded BORASSUS Project. Field studies on a steep (21–25°) roadside slope demonstrate that cover of Borassus and Buriti mats improved the germination and growth of sown perennial grasses. The biomass of perennial grasses significantly increased (by 52–63%) under cover of Borassus mats and by 19–28% under cover of Buriti mats. The geotextiles (Borassus and Buruti, respectively) decreased soil losses from bare fallow soil by 91 and 82% and from plots covered by perennial grasses by 88 and 79%, respectively. This illustrates that geotextiles have a notable potential as a biotechnical soil conservation method for slope stabilization and protection from water erosion on steep industrial slopes and may be integrated with the use of perennial grasses to optimize protection from water erosion