VETIVER IN MADAGASCAR AND RAILROAD STABILIZATION: Plantation de vetiver sur FCE

From: "cjuliard" <[email protected]>

To: <[email protected]>

Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2000 18:55:51 +0400

Dick:

  As you might know, I have been working on this railroad project in Madagascar, and following two serious cyclones, 80%  of a 162 km line were submerged by land slides.  While in Madagascar, we worked with the RR to set up nurseries and plant vetiver along parts of the line. The damage was so serious that there is a possibility of direct US disaster assistance. The initial reaction was to work through traditional techniques to prevent further land slides. I wrote and suggested that some Thai engineers (especially those who worked on the gas line, and you suggested to include Didi) be invited to assess the possibility of using vetiver.

The message below is from the chief engineer for the RR who confirms (in French) that the places where vetiver was planted did not suffer slippage or land slide, and next to it were there was no vetiver, the hill side eroded. He also recommends that a Thai team be invited before any rehabilitation work is considered. I have tried to proved translation in CAPITAL LETTERS to the text below.

-----Original Message-----

From: GIL <<mailto:[email protected]>[email protected]>

To: MSF <<mailto:[email protected]>[email protected]>

Cc: JRE <<mailto:[email protected]>[email protected]>; JRR <<mailto:[email protected]>[email protected]>; <mailto:[email protected]>[email protected] <<mailto:[email protected]>[email protected]>

Date: Wednesday, April 05, 2000 3:14 PM

Subject: Plantation de vetiver sur FCE

J'ai lu avec grand intérêt l'ensemble des correspondances echangées sur le projet de faire venir des experts thailandais pour apprécier l'opportunité de systématiser la plantation de vetiver sur les talus "à risque" le long de la ligne FCE.

I READ WITH GREAT INTEREST THE CORRESPONDENCE TO HAVE THAI EXPERTS COME TO MADAGASCAR TO LOOK AT THE OPPORTUNITIES OF SYSTEMITIZING VETIVER USAGE ALONG THE HIGH RISK AREAS OF THE FCE RAILROAD

Compte tenu de l'ampleur des dégats constatés et compte-tenu des sommes à affecter à ce projet ( si ce projet se rélise ), je pense qu'il est effectivement intéressant de faire une expertise au préalable de la faisabilité technique de ce projet. A ce titre, l'arrivée des experts thailandais est souhaitable s'ils sont disponibles et si leurs expertises peuvent apporter un plus à nos expériences actuelles.

TAKING INTO ACCOUNT THE SERIOUS DISTRUCTION AND THE AMOUNTS NEEDED TO REHABILITATE THE LINE (IF EVER THE REHABILITATION PROJECT TAKE PLACE), I BELIEVE IT WOULD BE GOOD TO HAVE THE AREA BE SEEN BY EXPERTS TO EVALUATE THE TECHNICAL FEASABILITY OF THE PROJECT. IN SUCH AN CASE, THE PARTICIPATION OF THE THAI GROUP WOULD BE APPROPRIATE IF THEY WERE AVAILABLE AND THEY COULD BRING SOMETHING TO OUR PRESENT KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE.

J'ai effectivement constaté qu'au point kilomètrique 100 de la ligne FCE où un essai de plantation de vetiver a été fait pour protéger un talus de remblai, là où il y avait des vetiver, le talus a effectivement tenu. Par contre là où il n'y en avait pas, les eaux de ruissellement ont raviné une bonne partie du talus.

I WAS ABLE TO VERIFY THAT AT POINT KM 100 OF THE RAIL LINE WHERE VETIVER TRIALS WERE MADE TO PROTECT THE HILL SIDE, THE PLACES WHERE VETIVER WAS PLANTED, THE STEEP HILL SIDE HELD. ON THE OTHER HAND WHERE THERE WAS NO VETIVER, THE RUN OFF WATER WASHED AWAY A GOOD PART OF THE EMBANKMENT. 

La solution "vetiver" serait donc une solution pour limiter les dégats en cas de passage de cyclônes ultérieurement. Il reste à confirmer que le vetiver pousse bien sur tous les types de sols le long de la ligne FCE ( à prédominance latéritique ou sablo-argileux ) là où l'on rencontre le plus d'instabilité de talus.

VETIVER WOULD THUS BE A SOLUTION TO LIMIT THE DAMAGE IN THE EVENT OF FUTRE CYCLONES. IT REMAINS TO BE CONFIRMED THAT VETIVER WILL GROW ON ALL TYPES OF SOIL ALONG THE RAIL LINE (PREDOMINENTLY LATERITE AND SANDY CLAYISH SOILS) WHERE THE HILL SIDES ARE THE MOST FRAGILE.

J'espère que le problème de financement de cette expertise pourra être résolu. I HOPE FINANCING FOR THIS EXPERTISE WILL BE RESOLVED.

Meilleures salutations.

Gilles