Vetiver Grass: An Essential Grass For The Conservation Of Planet Earth

By John Greenfield

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A forward to the book (which contains over 100 photographs) follows:

"Vetiver Grass: An Essential Grass For The Conservation Of Planet Earth"

Around the world, as nations develop infrastructure to participate in the global economy, countries clear forests for agriculture, roads, railways, mines, and reservoirs. As a result, billions of tons of soil are permanently lost each year with the consequential pollution and damage of downstream resources. This book relates for the first time the story of the Vetiver System, an organic system that helps stop such damage. It is the story of vetiver grass (Vetiveria zizanioides), an outstanding performer in the grass family and a unique plant that forms a thin green line against erosion.

Vetiver grass, when planted as a slim hedge, can recharge aquifers, thus replenishing essential groundwater supplies, at the same time filtering out many of the noxious chemicals resulting from today's increasing pollution of the earth's water supplies. The grass can control the leachate from landfills, mines, and sewerage systems and prevent it from reaching clean aquifers. At least 38 uses have been documented for this amazing plant that for centuries has been waving its stiff, little leaves, saying, "Here I am! Use me!" but that, until now, has been neglected.

The Vetiver System of farming, as a technology, has been proven to meet the needs of the poorest people in the poorest countries. It does little good to reduce infant mortality in a poor country if the country cannot produce food to feed the growing child. Why bring children into a life of poverty and famine to let them die slowly of hunger and thirst or water-borne disease? The increase in yields and sustainability in rainfed areas using vetiver technology is no longer anecdotal; more than 10 years of research have shown that moisture conservation resulting from contour vetiver hedges has increased yields and made subsistence cropping sustainable and even profitable.

With the Vetiver System, the subsistence farmer can expect to get the full genetic expression out of any new crops developed, can expect his farm to remain stable and protected from erosion, and can expect his crop yields to be sustainable.

No longer can international development specialists state that the international system has failed to meet the scientific and technological needs of the world's poorest people. The Vetiver System not only meets the needs, it requires little in the way of funds. After the government, the aid agencies, or the farmer develop the nurseries to produce the initial planting material, the system becomes the farmers' at no further cost. With a little care to assure that the hedges are established correctly during the first two seasons, and with occasional weeding and maintenance, the farmer and his descendants will have the means to sustain production of good crops for generations at no further cost.

The uniqueness of the Vetiver System is not its sole use for soil and water conservation, for which a number of competing technologies exist, but rather its wide range of application in contrast to the single use of other technologies. Since the early 1990s, nonagricultural applications of the Vetiver System have become a dominant feature that has attracted increasing interest. The Vetiver System has a huge role to play in stabilizing infrastructure and reducing the environmental damage from soil-related pollutants.

This book explains the Vetiver System in detail, clearly shows how simple the system is, and is fully referenced for those who want additional information or further verification of the statements made.

The Vetiver System, which has been disseminated worldwide, virtually replaces the expensive and inappropriate engineered system of soil and moisture conservation in the tropics-and it replaces that system at virtually no cost. It is the most versatile, useful system yet developed, and it will have the greatest impact on the lives of all those in developing countries and island nations.

In the book, many features of the Vetiver System are explained including:
* The history of vetiver grass and its use in India thousands of years ago.
* Why choose vetiver grass and not some other grass? What is so special about it?
* What causes erosion and how much of a problem is it.
* How vetiver grass can be used to prevent erosion and increase moisture conservation.
* How the Vetiver System contributes to protecting the environment.
* How the Vetiver System has made rainfed agriculture more reliable, productive, and sustainable.
* How the Vetiver System has provided a biological system to stabilize road cuts and fills on major highways
* How the Vetiver System has presented a solution to the problem of rehabilitating mine wastes.
* Why increased propagation of planting material is essential.
* How and why networking is necessary for gaining acceptance of a new technology.
* The work undertaken in Australia and China that uses the Vetiver System to purify garbage leachate. The whole issue relating to the Vetiver System's ability to remove excess phosphates, nitrates, and pesticides found in sediment flows from agricultural enterprises such as cotton, sugarcane, sewerage systems, and feedlots is discussed.
* How the Vetiver System can remove highly toxic heavy metals from landfills, mine dumps, and electrolytic factories.
* A photographic record of the Vetiver System in use around the world.
* Statistical information about Vetiver System development costs
* A model for establishing a new technology in a foreign country.
* How the Vetiver System has now been accepted internationally, in more than 100 countries, for a multitude of uses.