|Vetiver in East China Highway Conference|
The East China Highway Conference was held in Xiamen of Fujian Province, on 8-11 June. There were 60 participants coming from Jiangxi, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Zhejiang, Shandong, Fujian, Anhui Provinces. They were highway bureau officials, engineers, and university professors, and vocational school teachers. Some came from highway planning and design institutes, and highway maintenance departments. The main topic of the conference was the highway greenization. Mr Liyu Xu, coordinator of China Vetiver Network, was invited to attend the conference. A paper titled Vetiver for Highway Stabilization and Greenization which was prepared jointly by engineers from Jiangsu Highway Bureau and Jiangsu Communications Planning and Designing Academy was presented during conference accompanied by a set of slides. He introduced the vetiver application in Malaysia, Thailand, Australia, and in China in particular. Since 1989, vetiver technology has been introduced to highway departments in Guangdong and Fujian Provinces. It was shown that the grass played an important role in highway stabilization in mountainous area, which covers around 70% of southern part of the country. Since then more and more engineers from both highway and railway got involving in vetiver.
During the conference, most of the participants felt fresh to hear about the grass. The vetiver technology generated great interests in the meeting and the participants hoped to get more information. The engineers from Fujian, Anhui, and Jiangsu Provinces decided to test vetiver grass for their newly built highways.
It was suggested that an international meeting on the application of vetiver technology for highway stabilization be held in late 1999 in order to invite more engineers to involve in the technology and to reduce expenses used for stabilization with engineering measure instead of biological means which can not only protect highway from soil erosion damage but also protect environment. The participants realized that vetiver could be a hot topic among engineers, as during the period from 1994-1996 there was 34,000 km of highway constructed in the country, many of these need to be protected and greenized.
South China Water and Soil Conservation Meeting
South China Water and Soil Conservation Meeting Held in Xiamen Organized by South China Water and Soil Conservation Association, the South China Water and Soil Conservation Meeting was Held in Xiamen on 10-12 June 1998. About 80 participants mostly from provinces in south China attended the meeting. Mr Liyu Xu, coordinator of China Vetiver Network, and his colleague Ms Zhang Jing were invited to attend the meeting. Mr Xu introduced the recent development of China Vetiver Network and the applications of vetiver technology for engineering purpose. The very good examples generated by Ms Zhangjing in Fujian Province were introduced, e.g. vetiver technology for the protection of coastal dikes, river banks, fish pond, and vetiver for sand dune stabilization, saline soil amelioration, and edible fungi cultivation, etc. Following national economic reform many new constructions were carried out, which caused serious new soil erosion and became a key issue in soil erosion control in the country.
In the meeting, Mr liyu also introduced jiji cao (Achnatherum splendens), a grass similar to vetiver but tolerant extremely draught and cold:
The jiji grass appears to have many similarities to vetiver grass, although there are some very distinct differences, including a less dense and weaker leaf system. However there are enough similarities, as well as farmer experience and knowledge, to suggest that jiji grass could be key to long term embankment stabilization (terrace, dams, and roads) in north China if planted as a closely spaced inline hedgerows across the slope of embankment as has been widely proven for vetiver. It also may well be possible to use it as an effective contour hedgerow on unterraced sloping land. The China Vetiver Network's newsletters and fact sheets will include information on jiji grass. Some experiments will be arranged in Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, and Ningxia in Loess Plateau shortly just before the raining season. Demonstrations will be established in cooperation with county or township extension stations and master farmers as well. During the meeting a recognized expert Dr Mien-chun Liao from Taiwan pointed out that it was very necessary to use biological measure to protect earth terrace which was not protected by stone. The grasses will be very useful for terrace stabilization.