A thin green line against erosion
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CTA. 1993. A thin green line against erosion. Spore 45. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/49154
Vetiver grass: a thin green line against erosion 1993
For developing nations, soil erosion is among the most chronic environmental and economic burdens. Many of these nations are in the tropics where, in just a few hours, torrential downpours can wash away tons of topsoil. Many others are in the drier zones where swirling winds and flash floods can be equally devastating. By these processes, huge amounts of valuable soil are being lost every day. Worse the soil accumulates in rivers, reservoirs, harbours and estuaries causing siltation and further costly devastation. Erosion is thus a double disaster: a vital resource disappears from where it is desperately needed only to be dumped where it is equally unwanted. One practical solution for controlling erosion simply, cheaply and on a huge scale in both the tropics and semi-arid regions could be the use of a coarse grass called vetiver (Vetiver zizanioides). Planted in lines along the contours of sloping lands, vetiver quickly forms narrow but very dense hedges. Its stiff foliage then blocks the passage of soil and debris It also slows any runoff and gives the rainfall a better chance of soaking into soil instead of rushing off the slope. The report Vetiver grass is a scientific audit of the safety and effectiveness of the plant as used for erosion control. The book reviews existing research and experiences with the grass. It has been produced particularly for nonspecialist readers such as government ministers, research directors, university students and NGOs. A word of warning to those thinking of introducing vetiver grass into new environments: the erosion-control form of the plant produces no viable seed, and therefore does not spread and become a weed. It must be propogated vegetatively. There is another form of vetiver which does produce viable seed and which can become a 'colonizer'; this type should never be used to control erosion. Vetiver grass: a thin green line against erosion 1993 171pp ISBN 0 309 04269 0 Pbk BOSTID 2101 Constitution Avenue NW JH-210 Washington DC, USA