Managing the extent of tree removal from railway earthwork slopes

K. M. Briggs, J. A. Smethurst, W. Powrie, A. S. O'Brien, D. J. E. Butcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)
42 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Trees cover the slopes of many earthworks (embankments and cuttings) supporting the UK’s rail network. Trees provide ecological and slope stability benefits to earthwork slopes but they can also cause seasonal shrinking and swelling of the soil. Seasonal shrink-swell movement in earthworks can affect the level and alignment of the track, causing speed restrictions, associated delays for rail passengers and a substantial cost for infrastructure owners. Guidance is required to identify and manage the removal of problematic trees, while avoiding full tree clearance on earthworks slopes.
A study was undertaken on behalf of London Underground Ltd (LUL) to assess whether the National House Building Council (NHBC) guidance, considering tree species and the ratio of the distance of the tree from the track, Dt, to the mature tree height Ht, might be applicable to trees located on railway earthwork slopes. Excessive seasonal track movement was shown to correlate with the presence of high water demand (HWD) tree species located within a certain Dt/Ht ratio of the track, but not other tree species.
Soil heave was measured on the slope of an instrumented railway embankment following removal of trees from the embankment slope. The magnitude and rate of soil heave was also estimated from five years of pore water pressure data, using a one dimensional settlement/heave calculation based on a linear swelling index. It was found that while the removal of HWD trees reduced seasonal shrink-swell movement, soil heave and upward track movement continued for at least 4 years after tree felling.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)690-696
Number of pages7
JournalEcological Engineering
Volume61
Issue numberC
Early online date10 Jan 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2013

Fingerprint

earthworks
railway
Embankments
Soils
Swelling
Rails
heave
Water
Railroad tracks
Slope stability
embankment
swell
water demand
removal
swelling
soil
Costs
ecological stability
slope stability

Keywords

  • Infrastructure
  • vegetation management
  • field monitoring
  • trees

Cite this

Managing the extent of tree removal from railway earthwork slopes. / Briggs, K. M.; Smethurst, J. A.; Powrie, W.; O'Brien, A. S.; Butcher, D. J. E.

In: Ecological Engineering, Vol. 61, No. C, 01.12.2013, p. 690-696.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Briggs, KM, Smethurst, JA, Powrie, W, O'Brien, AS & Butcher, DJE 2013, 'Managing the extent of tree removal from railway earthwork slopes', Ecological Engineering, vol. 61, no. C, pp. 690-696. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoleng.2012.12.076
Briggs, K. M. ; Smethurst, J. A. ; Powrie, W. ; O'Brien, A. S. ; Butcher, D. J. E. / Managing the extent of tree removal from railway earthwork slopes. In: Ecological Engineering. 2013 ; Vol. 61, No. C. pp. 690-696.
@article{897ec14699b04b6193f0ea7e4cb98948,
title = "Managing the extent of tree removal from railway earthwork slopes",
abstract = "Trees cover the slopes of many earthworks (embankments and cuttings) supporting the UK’s rail network. Trees provide ecological and slope stability benefits to earthwork slopes but they can also cause seasonal shrinking and swelling of the soil. Seasonal shrink-swell movement in earthworks can affect the level and alignment of the track, causing speed restrictions, associated delays for rail passengers and a substantial cost for infrastructure owners. Guidance is required to identify and manage the removal of problematic trees, while avoiding full tree clearance on earthworks slopes.A study was undertaken on behalf of London Underground Ltd (LUL) to assess whether the National House Building Council (NHBC) guidance, considering tree species and the ratio of the distance of the tree from the track, Dt, to the mature tree height Ht, might be applicable to trees located on railway earthwork slopes. Excessive seasonal track movement was shown to correlate with the presence of high water demand (HWD) tree species located within a certain Dt/Ht ratio of the track, but not other tree species. Soil heave was measured on the slope of an instrumented railway embankment following removal of trees from the embankment slope. The magnitude and rate of soil heave was also estimated from five years of pore water pressure data, using a one dimensional settlement/heave calculation based on a linear swelling index. It was found that while the removal of HWD trees reduced seasonal shrink-swell movement, soil heave and upward track movement continued for at least 4 years after tree felling.",
keywords = "Infrastructure, vegetation management, field monitoring, trees",
author = "Briggs, {K. M.} and Smethurst, {J. A.} and W. Powrie and O'Brien, {A. S.} and Butcher, {D. J. E.}",
year = "2013",
month = "12",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.ecoleng.2012.12.076",
language = "English",
volume = "61",
pages = "690--696",
journal = "Ecological Engineering",
issn = "0925-8574",
publisher = "Elsevier",
number = "C",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Managing the extent of tree removal from railway earthwork slopes

AU - Briggs, K. M.

AU - Smethurst, J. A.

AU - Powrie, W.

AU - O'Brien, A. S.

AU - Butcher, D. J. E.

PY - 2013/12/1

Y1 - 2013/12/1

N2 - Trees cover the slopes of many earthworks (embankments and cuttings) supporting the UK’s rail network. Trees provide ecological and slope stability benefits to earthwork slopes but they can also cause seasonal shrinking and swelling of the soil. Seasonal shrink-swell movement in earthworks can affect the level and alignment of the track, causing speed restrictions, associated delays for rail passengers and a substantial cost for infrastructure owners. Guidance is required to identify and manage the removal of problematic trees, while avoiding full tree clearance on earthworks slopes.A study was undertaken on behalf of London Underground Ltd (LUL) to assess whether the National House Building Council (NHBC) guidance, considering tree species and the ratio of the distance of the tree from the track, Dt, to the mature tree height Ht, might be applicable to trees located on railway earthwork slopes. Excessive seasonal track movement was shown to correlate with the presence of high water demand (HWD) tree species located within a certain Dt/Ht ratio of the track, but not other tree species. Soil heave was measured on the slope of an instrumented railway embankment following removal of trees from the embankment slope. The magnitude and rate of soil heave was also estimated from five years of pore water pressure data, using a one dimensional settlement/heave calculation based on a linear swelling index. It was found that while the removal of HWD trees reduced seasonal shrink-swell movement, soil heave and upward track movement continued for at least 4 years after tree felling.

AB - Trees cover the slopes of many earthworks (embankments and cuttings) supporting the UK’s rail network. Trees provide ecological and slope stability benefits to earthwork slopes but they can also cause seasonal shrinking and swelling of the soil. Seasonal shrink-swell movement in earthworks can affect the level and alignment of the track, causing speed restrictions, associated delays for rail passengers and a substantial cost for infrastructure owners. Guidance is required to identify and manage the removal of problematic trees, while avoiding full tree clearance on earthworks slopes.A study was undertaken on behalf of London Underground Ltd (LUL) to assess whether the National House Building Council (NHBC) guidance, considering tree species and the ratio of the distance of the tree from the track, Dt, to the mature tree height Ht, might be applicable to trees located on railway earthwork slopes. Excessive seasonal track movement was shown to correlate with the presence of high water demand (HWD) tree species located within a certain Dt/Ht ratio of the track, but not other tree species. Soil heave was measured on the slope of an instrumented railway embankment following removal of trees from the embankment slope. The magnitude and rate of soil heave was also estimated from five years of pore water pressure data, using a one dimensional settlement/heave calculation based on a linear swelling index. It was found that while the removal of HWD trees reduced seasonal shrink-swell movement, soil heave and upward track movement continued for at least 4 years after tree felling.

KW - Infrastructure

KW - vegetation management

KW - field monitoring

KW - trees

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84872067199&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoleng.2012.12.076

U2 - 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2012.12.076

DO - 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2012.12.076

M3 - Article

VL - 61

SP - 690

EP - 696

JO - Ecological Engineering

JF - Ecological Engineering

SN - 0925-8574

IS - C

ER -