EPA Science Inventory

Epic landslide erosion from mountain roads in Yunnan, China – challenges for sustainable development

Citation:

Sidle, R., M. Ghestem, AND A. Stokes. Epic landslide erosion from mountain roads in Yunnan, China – challenges for sustainable development. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences. Copernicus Gesellschaft mbH, Gottingen, Germany, 2:3887-3917, (2014).

Description:

Expanding systems of mountain roads in developing countries significantly increase the risk of landslides and sedimentation in streams and rivers, as well as create vulnerabilities for residents and aquatic resources. However, neither government agencies nor external assistance organizations are addressing this escalating problem in the context of sustainable development. We measured landslide erosion along seven road segments in steep terrain in the upper Salween River basin, Yunnan, China and estimated sediment delivery to channels. Landslide erosion rates along the footprint of the roads ranged from 2780 to 48,235 Mg ha-1yr-1, the upper end of this range being the highest rate ever reported along mountain roads. The two roads with the highest landslide erosion (FG1 = 12,966 Mg ha-1yr-1; DXD = 48,235 Mg ha-1yr-1) had some of the highest sediment delivery rates to channels (about 80 and 86%, respectively). Overall, three times more landslides occurred along cutslopes compared to fillslopes, but fillslope failures had a combined mass > 1.3 times that of cutslope failures. Many more small landslides occurred along road cuts, but these were often trapped on the road surface. Given the magnitude of the road landslide problem and the lack of attention to this issue, we offer a more sustainable approach for mountain road development based on a detailed analysis of landslide susceptibility and how thresholds for landslide trigger mechanisms would be modified by road location and different construction techniques.

Purpose/Objective:

Article published in Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences

URLs/Downloads:

www.nat-hazards-earth-syst-sci-discuss.net/2/3887/2014/   Exit

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Start Date: 06/18/2014
Completion Date: 06/18/2014
Record Last Revised: 12/02/2014
Record Created: 06/18/2014
Record Released: 06/18/2014
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 278818

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL EXPOSURE RESEARCH LAB

ECOSYSTEMS RESEARCH DIVISION