DOWNLOADABLE RESOURCES

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COMMUNITY-BASED BIO-ENGINEERING FOR ECO-SAFE ROADSIDES IN NEPAL

This manual provides guidance to communities and local government agencies on the occurrence, assessment and mitigation of road construction-induced landslides and erosion. By better understanding the interaction between human activity and natural phenomena we are better able to find solutions and increase our coping capacities to face threats. In Nepal, the number of rural roads has quadrupled over the past two decades as many communities are prioritizing access to markets, health care and education. 
 

We know that haphazard rural road construction in Nepal is one of the leading causes of slope instabilities and severe erosion, leading to the destruction of agricultural land, loss of lives and property. The current way of building roads requires frequent clearing of roads after each monsoon and is much less cost effective as compared to a road constructed  with proper drainage and low-cost vegetative stabilisation, or bio-engineering.

 

It is true  that bio-engineering alone may not suffice to stabilise certain road side failures, while civil  engineering alone and especially - improper  civil engineering - may also be prone to failure.  For small failures, appropriately-scaled civil  engineering structures may be required as  reinforcement to vegetative stabilization to  anchor the soil (e.g. stone walls for reinforcing  slope toes with vegetation on slopes). The  two are most often very complementary since  civil engineering structures often need to be  replaced or strengthened after 10- 15 years,  while bio-engineering benefits accrue over  time. This manual will only consider small  slope failures along roadsides as large failures  require large and costly civil engineering  structures, which fall outside the scope of  community-based stabilisation possibilities.

 

The practice of bio-engineering is not new in Nepal and in fact many very good manuals  exist on this topic [1, 2, 3]. This manual is  however intended for local stakeholders, including communities, civil society groups,  NGOs and local government actors and  those who are involved in or initiating rural  road construction in Nepal. Its purpose is to  better understand the processes and factors  leading to common, small slope instabilities  caused by road construction and low-cost  and appropriate solutions.

 

This manual is  intended as a “ how to guide ” to resolving  common small-scale slope failures, using a  combination of vegetation and simple civil  engineering, or bio-engineering alone. The  manual will answer the following questions:

  • What are common slope-stability problems  linked to road construction?

  • What locally appropriate bio-engineering  solutions are available for reducing the  negative impacts of rural road construction?

These are questions that we intend to answer in an easy-to-read language, focusing mostly  on visual content. We have developed a useful roadside slope failure diagnosis tool and bioengineering checklist (see Annex I) that can be used by local government and communities for  better understanding roadside failure issues  and possible, locally appropriate solutions.

 
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ROADSIDE BIO-ENGINEERING SITE HANDBOOK

This handbook provides the information needed to design, plan, implement and maintain roadside bio-engineering works. It also covers the establishment and maintenance of bio-engineering nurseries. It is intended that the handbook cover all subjects that an engineer would need on site. (The companion Reference Manual provides background and supporting information and is intended for office use.)

Each subject is covered in a separate section and sections are marked with a vertical coloured bar for easier reference.

This Site Handbook is to inform Engineers and Overseers on the use of bio-engineering in Nepal. It is written specifically for use on roadside slopes. It covers all of the practical aspects of designing, planning, implementing and maintaining bio-engineering site works. The companion Reference Manual provides all the supporting information required.

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ROADSIDE BIO-ENGINEERING REFERENCE MANUAL

This provides a theoretical background for the use of vegetation in engineering. In addition to covering the principles underlying techniques of slope stabilisation, the manual outlines those aspects of the ecology, geology, geography and law of Nepal that would be of relevance to practising bio-engineers. The manual is intended for office use and provides standard specifications for bio-engineeriung works, profiles of main bio-engineering species and rate analysis norms for bio-engineering approved by His Majesty's Government, Ministry of Works and Transport. (The companion Site Handbook provides the information needed to deesign, plan, implement and maintain roadside bio-engineering works and is intended for use on site.

 

Soil bioengineering includes the sustainable use of vegetation for civil engineering purposes, including addressing climate change challenges. Previous research in this area has been focused on determination of the strength and stability that vegetation provides for the soil it grows in. The industry, on the other hand, has concentrated on mainly empirical approaches in the design and construction of nature-based solutions. The aim of this paper is to attempt a reconciliation of the scientific and technical aspects of soil bioengineering with a view of proposing broad guidelines for management of soil bioengineering projects aimed at combatting climate change and achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). More than 20 case studies of civil engineering projects addressing climate change challenges, such as erosion, shallow landslides, and flooding, were critically reviewed against the different project stages and the UN SDGs. The gaps identified in the review are addressed from civil engineering and asset management perspectives, with a view of implementing the scientific and technical nexus in the future. Recommendations are formulated to help civil engineers embrace the multidisciplinary

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Swiss Development and Cooperation (SDC) has worked with the Ministry of Land Environmental Protection (MoLEP) of the Democratic People Republic of Korea (DPRK) to empower Sloping Land User Groups (SLUGs) to apply new agroforestry practices such as Bio-engineering for land erosion control, land use planning, reforestation and conservation farming to address humanitarian needs of rural populations concerning food security. 

Disaster risk was strengthened through wider application of Soil Bio-engineering and low-cost engineering techniques through Sloping Land Users Group.

Water management was implemented in eroded gully, and in other slope erosion, where terraced walls and a conservation pond was used to retain water. Training was provided on the techniques used, and Mr. Thapa prepared work guidelines, site handbooks, and progress reports.

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In early 2020 Mr. Thapa was asked to identify a strategy for bio-engineering approaches to improve the resilience and quality of rural road infrastructures through landslide management and optimization of road reserve use and to prepare a guideline incorporating site assessments, specifications, typical designs, and drawings for the bio-engineering techniques, and to offer full training to the counterpart staff in accordance with approved training plans and transfer of knowledge.

He recommended clearing of debris, building gabion walls, planting grasses, trees and brush, improving drainage, and trimming of the slope edge and co-authored this 137 page guide to landslide management in Uganda.

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