Soil bioengineering in northeastern Brazil: An Overview
This paper presents an overview of soil bioengineering techniques also known as natural engineering developed in the state of Sergipe, northeastern Brazil, and shows the importance of integrating living and inert elements to protect river banks from erosion. We cover aspects ranging from the characterization of susceptibility to erosion to the use of biotechniques, in areas such as agronomy engineering, forest engineering, biology, pedology, geomorphology, and geotechnology. Our approach was to focus on those interdisciplinary techniques and methodologies that address different applications, to maximize synergies (e.g., natural engineering techniques for combining inert materials in ways that help plants develop increasingly efficient systems); this approach also means lower maintenance costs than with methods that use merely inert materials. Our research works at different locations sought to benefit from studies using techniques for making use of available materials rocky and geotextiles and identifying the suitable species for the ecological conditions on the diverse environments in northeastern Brazil, considering the size and range of technological, ecological, economic and aesthetic objectives. Along the Lower São Francisco River margin, the primary need is stabilization of the river banks, through recovery of the riparian vegetation. If erosion of these banks can thus be controlled, siltation of the river will be greatly reduced.