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Practical solutions to









Rapid adaptation to the consequences of climate change will become an urgent focus of aid and development programs. Under global warming, maintaining food production and water supplies will be two of the most urgent and difficult challenges. In arid lands, water scarcity is worsening. Harvesting rare, intermittent rainfalls, while, protecting farm soils from erosion are the main priorities. In arid zones, every drop of scarce rainfall must now be harvested. Although dams and water tanks have their place, in general, the only practical way to store rainfall is, as soil moisture, in the soil.

Soil & organic particles accumulate behind vetiver hedges so well that by capturing runoff vetiver hedges also prevent excessive soil erosion. Vetiver hedges are proven to solve two of our biggest resource management challenges at once: They conserve rainwater & they conserve soils. Vetiver is an economic solution for two of the biggest problems in (warm climate) land management worldwide.

The key to harvesting stormwater runoff is retaining it on the land long enough for it to percolate into the soil. Vetiver, planted in contour hedges, retains and harvests rainfall by retaining runoff, allowing it to percolate into soils. In wetter regions, annual rainfall is being concentrated into more extreme storm events. In areas with higher rainfall, vetiver

contour hedges harvest rainwater from storm events, while dramatically reducing soil erosion at the same time. Widespread establishment of vetiver hedges, on sloping and flood-prone farmland, will quickly and effectively mitigate against increasing water scarcity and the increasing concentration of annual rainfalls into more extreme storm events.

CIAT, in 2002 estimated that deep rooted South American grasses sequestered between 100 to 500 tons of Carbon per ha per year.

Text Box: Q: Which industry has done the most damage to Planet Earth?
A: Agriculture
‘If we are going to save the world we have to reinvent agriculture’
Vetiver would sequester probably more. Lets take an average of 250 tons of carbon per year.

This would mean that at a density of 100,000 plants per ha vetiver would sequester 2.5 kg carbon per plant.

Thus every linear km of vetiver hedge (8 plants per meter) would sequester (8000 x 2.5 kg) 20 metric tons of atmospheric carbon per year. A linear km of vetiver hedgerow is equivalent to 2000 fast growing poplars in carbon sequestering terms.

Your "carbon foot print" could be negated by planting 50 to 60 vetiver plants in a tropical country or approximate 8 meters of vetiver hedgerow.

Vetiver grass is a ‘soft’ engineering solution. Vetiver is planted to protect slopes, banks and cuttings. Vetiver is environmentally, technically and economically superior (in appropriate situations) to ‘hard’ engineering solutions. Vetiver is ‘green’, permanent and economical. Vetiver, bio-engineering for the 21st century.  

In wetter regions

In wet or wet/dry tropical regions, soil erosion, nutrient leaching & rapid drying of carbon-deficient soils are root causes of poverty & poor agricultural production. Vetiver hedges conserve soils & nutrients while increasing soil moisture & soil-carbon levels. Vetiver hedges can increase agricultural production & alleviate poverty.





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infrastructure solutions - rainwater harvesting - riverbank restoration - sanitation and waste water solutions - carbon sequestration

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© 2007 CV. Akar Wangi in collaboration with Bali International Consulting Group