Photo Galery

Bioengineering Workshop for Post-Hurricane Mitch Construction - Experiences

with the Use of Vetiver for the Protection and Stabilization of Infrastructure

San Salvador - El Salvador, 4-6 May 1999

Los Lagartos Community Development Project. At the end of the 5 month dry season, soil moisture conditions between the vetiver hedges are still adequate to maintain, green and growing, the 3 year old reforestation. Soils here are extremely shallow and degraded.

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NOBS’ 9 hectare nursery in Sonsonate. The nursery is well-managed to provide good multiplication rates: proper cultivation prior to planting, fertilization, irrigation, and weeding. Note the eveness and uniformity of plant growth.

San Jose Las Flores - Quitasol. Workshop participants hear from Ronaldo Chavez, NOBS Director of Soil Conservation Works, about establishment and maintenance of vetiver hedges for road stabilization. These 1 year old hedges were pruned prior to the workshop to demonstrate proper maintenance.

Highway CA-12 - CA-4 Rehabilitation Project. Section of highway between Sonsonate and Puerto Libertad. A total of 73,194 linear meters of vetiver hedges have been established along this road. They are all doing their job.

Highway CA-12 - CA-4 Rehabilitation Project. Section of highway between Sonsonate and Puerto Libertad. A total of 73,194 linear meters of vetiver hedges have been established along this road. They are all doing their job.

San Jose Las Flores - Quitasol. Vetiver’s biggest weakness is that it does not grow well in shade. On this North-South oriented road, vetiver hedges have established well under the dense canopies of mango trees. The morning sun has been sufficient to allow adequate growth.

San Jose Las Flores - Quitasol. One year old vetiver hedges providing perfect stabilization to this 8 meter fill upon which the road bed rests.

Along highway near Sonsonate, El Salvador. Vetiver hedge planted above a roadside drain.

Highway CA-12 - CA-4 Rehabilitation Project. This is a curve which washed out during Hurricane Mitch. The collapsed section was a fill, not compacted to design standards. Not even vetiver could have saved this section. In the foreground, the contractor in order to save money, only used vetiver on the first 3 lines from the road edge - right below the 3rd hedge there are gullies forming (see next photo). The hedges are now 8 months old making them 2 months old at the time of Mitch.

Along same section of highway as SON_2. This is directly below the 3rd hedge where you can see vetiver roots hanging down in the failure.

San Jose Las Flores - Quitasol. Highway rehabilitation project where 75,358 linear meters of hedge have been established during 1997 - 1998. These hedges were planted in September 1998 (7 months) and have recently been pruned. This is a very loose sandy soil. They are planning on filling any existing gaps during the coming rainy season.

Los Lagartos Community Development Project. This is one of the most important environmental/agricultural project in the southwestern part of El Salvador. Based on community initiatives, the project has intended to rehabilitate their source of water. Previously this watershed (this part is 65 hectares) was planted in basic grains, but has now been converted to a protected area planted with 56,000 linear meters of hedges (and trees) over the last 3 years and there has been a noticeable increase in the level of water in the water storage tanks. A single temperature reading taken behind a hedge, between hedges and the ambient air found them to be 28.9C, 43.3C, and 34C respectively.

: Proyecto Prolongación 87 Av. Sur Col. Escalon. This project was completed in March 1999 and the hedges here are about 3 weeks old. Being the dry season they were watered daily for 15 days and now will be watered weekly until the rainy season starts in the next month. The project covered a vertical height of 26 meters with 2500 linear meters of hedges, cost US$3,669 with labor of 125 man days. These hedges are planted very closely on the slope and NOBS’ planting units are clumps about 8-10 cm in diameter which is about 10 plants. The hedges were also planted without gaps to form an immediate hedge. This is a project of extremely high investment which needs protection.

Protection and slope stabilization of a Texaco service station in Depto. La Libertad. Alongside the highway of the gas station is a deep drainage canal which drains the paved surfaces of the adjacent highway and service station. It is completely protected by vetiver hedges along the contours and drainages as well as landscaped with eucalyptus trees.

Slope protection at geothermal plant. In April 1998 (13 months ago) , 8,500 linear meters of hedges were established on the contructed slopes leading up to a newly constructed geothermal plant. This region in the eastern part of El Salvador suffered the worst damages of Hurricane Mitch, and all of the fill slopes planted with vetiver surrounding the plant remained intact during the hurricane.

Proyecto Prolongación 87 Av. Sur Col. Escalon. The left 1/4 to 1/3 of the photo shows the vetiver hedges stopping with another hedge planted. This is a portion of the site which is privately owned and the owner did not want to make the investment in compacting the soil enough for vetiver to be planted. (This is a priority with NOBS. If the site is not properly prepared and compacted they will not plant vetiver there because the site will surely fail, thus tarnishing their and vetiver’s images.) So the owner followed the vetiver hedge’s lead along the contour, but they planted a local variety of a type of sorgum.

Texaco service station in Depto. La Libertad. Cement drainage from highway protected with vetiver along the highway curb and down the length of the ditch.

Texaco service station in Depto. La Libertad. Main drainage ditch running between highway and service station. Note vetiver along the length of the ditch and with eucalyptus trees.

This is a close-up of the sorgum planted. You can already see rills forming from the irrigation it received. Not pictured was a man down on the sorgum hedges using a shovel to try to compact the surface of the soil.

Geothermal plant. This valuable investment rests on top of a fill slope stabilized by vetiver.

Proyecto Prolongación 87 Av. Sur Col. Escalon. Watering the hedges to ensure good root penetration prior to the onset of the rainy season.