Roads and Infrastructure

Stabilizing slopes, cuttings and banks with Vetiver grass

The stabilizing structure on an unconsolidated slope may be retained by gravity and/or secure anchorage. Ideally, anchors are attached through the unstable surface into a stable substrate. On compacted fill, the surface structure will ideally be anchored deeply into the fill material.  

The surface of the slope, bank or cutting must be very durable, able to withstand extreme weather or flooding events for many years into the future with little or no maintenance.

Conventional or ‘hard’ engineering solutions are expensive and resource intensive. Contractors implement the projects, often using cheap foreign labor and heavy machines. Large quantities of fuel are used transporting bulk materials to the site. Overall, these projects have a significant Greenhouse footprint and provide few work opportunities to local communities.

‘Soft’ engineering or Bioengineering employs plants with specific characteristics suited to the task at hand. Vetiver grass is unique in the number of benefits it provides without any significant drawbacks.


·        A permanent, low maintenance solution: Vetiver grass is a perennial plant, which provides a permanent solution with little or no maintenance

·        Strong anchors are spread evenly over the stabilized area: The vetiver root mass is very large and the fibrous roots are very strong

·        Deep anchorage: Vetiver roots penetrate several meters into native soil or fill material

·        A durable surface: Vetiver foliage is tough, it survives fire and extended flooding

·        Stops soil erosion: The dense foliage traps soil particles being washed downhill

·        Improves water quality: Sediments are trapped by foliage before entering nearby waterways

·        Water harvesting, flood mitigation: Vetiver greatly increases percolation rates

·        Supports local economies: Vetiver projects are labor intensive. They employ locals, especially in rural areas

·        A ‘Green’ solution: Vetiver is more natural and more attractive than stone or concrete

·        Side-benefits: Vetiver foliage may be harvested for thatching, fodder, composting or other purposes where biomass is required


·        Vetiver is non-invasive: It sets sterile seed and does not have running stolons

·        Vetiver is non-competitive: Roots grow vertically downwards, vetiver does not compete with adjacent plants

·        Safe from pests and disease: Vetiver has been shown to have very few pest or disease problems

·        Precedents: Vetiver has been proven in many projects in many countries around the world. Vetiver has been promoted and supported by the World bank for many years


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

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For more information on Vetiver please visit www.vetiver.com

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