Vetiver: An Authorised Grass For Highway Stabilization


An official document was prepared and released by Highway Bureau of Fujian Province of China on 8 July, 1998. The document fully approved the function of vetiver for highway embankment stabilization and asked all highway institutions, offices, and departments at county and prefecture level throughout the province to study vetiver technology and to use vetiver for highway stabilization and erosion control. The document requested all institutions to strengthen the exchange of ideas and experience in order to extend the grass throughout the province more rapidly.

There are 3 prefectures, 16 cities, and 54 counties in Fujian Province with a total area for over 120,000 sq. km. The Province is northeast of Taiwan with many mountains and hills accounting for more than 90% of total land area. There has been a rapid development of highway construction. For example, in Fujian Province 4,000 km of highways were built during the period of 1992 - 1996. The highways were usually constructed on the deeply weathered granite, from few meters to several dozens of meters deep, and were subject to soil erosion and collapse, leading to damaged highways and new soil erosion area along the highways. To protect highway engineers had to use rock and concrete for the critical sections of the road embankment. There are 2.6 million sq. meters of road embankment slopes that need to be protected in Fujian Province. However due to financial constraints, there was only a very small percentage of the slopes protected. Following the International Vetiver Workshop held in Fuzhou, the capital of Fujian Province, in October 1997, the vetiver technology was introduced to the highway authority of the province. They realized that the Vetiver Grass Technology was a cheap and effective way for highway embankment stabilization. As an attachment, the document also included the article titled Vetiver Technology Application in Engineering Aspects which was translated from the paper written by Diti Hengchaovanich of Thailand. Liyu Xu, Coordinator China Vetiver Network