Soil bioengineering application and practices in Nepal

Environ Manage. 2013 Feb;51(2):354-64. doi: 10.1007/s00267-012-0003-7. Epub 2012 Dec 22.


The small mountainous country Nepal is situated in the central part of the Himalayas. Its climate varies from tropical in the south to arctic in the north; and natural vegetation follows the pattern of climate and altitude. Water-induced disaster problems including soil erosion, debris flow, landslides and flooding are common due to the unstable landscape. Soil erosion is the most important driving force for the degradation of upland and mountain ecosystems. Soil bioengineering has been used in Nepal for nearly 30 years to deal with erosion problems on slopes, in high way construction and riverbank stabilization. The main soil bioengineering techniques used in Nepal are brush layering, palisades, live check dams, fascines and vegetative stone pitching. This study is based on the geology, climate and vegetation of Nepal and briefly summarizes the application of soil bioengineering on slopes and stream banks, with especial attention to the role of vegetation on slope and stream bank stabilization. Furthermore, this paper addresses the role of community participation and responsibility for successful application of vegetation-based techniques in management, maintenance and utility aspects for the future. In recent years, soil bioengineering techniques are extensively used due to their cost-effectiveness, using locally available materials and low-cost labour in comparison to more elaborate civil engineering works. However, scientific implementation and record-keeping and evaluation of the work are indeed essential.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bioengineering / methods*
  • Conservation of Natural Resources
  • Nepal
  • Soil*


  • Soil