Vetiver Network International Forum

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Welcome to the new (November 2018) Vetiver Network International Forum. Share your views and ideas, and help grow the Vetiver System in both size and quality to the benefit of its users and the Planet at large

#1 2020-11-18 20:05:39

admin
Admin

Deterrents to expanding the use of vetiver grass technology on farms

Barriers deterring the use of Vetiver Grass. (1) Some research shows that farmers need to be financially supported to undertake soil conservation works. - seems to work in the US in various forms but not in poor countries. Poor country conservation has generally come through World Food Program “food for work” programs and bilateral and multilateral aid agencies, or heavily subsidized  programs where there is no incentive for farmers to maintain their works and where there are huge opportunities for corruption by officials at all levels (2) engineered design based systems are generally preferred by “officials” - a bigger  budget line -  more room for corrupt practices and more control by involved officials. (3) biological systems are generally not preferred by engineers as most have not been trained in such aspects. They are also much lower costs and less opportunity for corrupt practices. (4) In most developing countries soil conservation is the responsibility of a “Soil Conservation Department” most of these are focused entirely on soil conservation and rarely consider the wider and secondary aspects that are derived from the primary work. Thus when introducing (perhaps reluctantly) a technology like Vetiver Grass the conservation agents  are either generally unaware of the many secondary benefits or do not tell the end user what those benefits may be. This all adds up to low adoption rates (5) In this age of "global environmental threat" primary and secondary schools should have a curricula that includes a compulsory class on basic environmental principles. — in other words some serious thought needs to be given to environmental education.

Views on this topic are welcome!!

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#2 2020-11-19 10:10:18

Evan
Moderator

Re: Deterrents to expanding the use of vetiver grass technology on farms

(1) Some research shows that farmers need to be financially supported to undertake soil conservation works. - seems to work in the US in various forms but not in poor countries. Poor country conservation has generally come through World Food Program “food for work” programs and bilateral and multilateral aid agencies, or heavily subsidized  programs where there is no incentive for farmers to maintain their works and where there are huge opportunities for corruption by officials at all levels

(2) engineered design based systems are generally preferred by “officials” - a bigger  budget line -  more room for corrupt practices and more control by involved officials.

(3) biological systems are generally not preferred by engineers as most have not been trained in such aspects. They are also much lower costs and less opportunity for corrupt practices.

(4) In most developing countries soil conservation is the responsibility of a “Soil Conservation Department” most of these are focused entirely on soil conservation and rarely consider the wider and secondary aspects that are derived from the primary work. Thus when introducing (perhaps reluctantly) a technology like Vetiver Grass the conservation agents  are either generally unaware of the many secondary benefits or do not tell the end user what those benefits may be. This all adds up to low adoption rates

(5) In this age of "global environmental threat" primary and secondary schools should have a curricula that includes a compulsory class on basic environmental principles. — in other words some serious thought needs to be given to environmental education.

I just reformatted it all for ease of reading.

(6) Vetiver being a non-native/non-endemic prevents uptake of plant due to weed risk even when absolutely proven otherwise. All natives, according to some, are superior to any other plant due to evolution.

This is a difficult topic to address even when sterility is proven. The 'nativist' also has fallback positions like Vetiver is taking space from other natives in the planting project. This is an ideology that 'first-world' western countries are currently toying with and pure 'endemic plants only' could be akin to climate change denialism as the climate changes faster than existing ecosystems can keep up with. A good quote that supports Vetiver use as a backup to changing conditions is:

"Manage for change, not persistence...

Conservation efforts usually strive to maintain existing conditions or restore back to some historical state. Increasingly, we will be faced with managing system transformation, and may need to focus on sustaining ecological functions, rather than historic assemblages of plants and animals."

Ecological functions is where it's at and it's the future.

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#3 2020-11-19 18:16:59

admin
Admin

Re: Deterrents to expanding the use of vetiver grass technology on farms

Sustaining ecological functions is what vetiver is very good at doing in many areas of application.

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#4 2020-11-19 19:34:22

Andy
Member

Re: Deterrents to expanding the use of vetiver grass technology on farms

Timescales: Hard engineering field biases 'acute' rather than 'chronic responses'. In aid-led development, project sponsors also favour ribbon-cutting ceremonies and monuments over systems and sustained community-led initiatives.

Infrastructure projects are used to stimulate economic growth (post C19 - now recovery). Material costs, machinery hire, large scale labour force/wage payment all look good on a quarterly balance sheet (short term). VS counter is nursery maintenance, harvesting, planting programs, trimming and bio-mass reuse (long term).

Community dependence on either government or aid support may limit the uptake of VS - again because VS requires long-term vision. Climate change projects are on the rise here - gradually consuming other sectors such as agriculture. These projects seem to have longer commitment period (3 years), so might create better terrain for VS-uptake.

Formal staging of VS might be useful/reassuring to sponsors. For example staging VS from nursery site selection, to community outreach, and a VS project solution toolkit. Looking at recent infrastructure examples, the toolkit model seems to be increasing in popularity. Toolkit is a selection of discreet (hard) engineering methods with indicative drawings. As example stormwater management details trash traps, silt traps, culverts, etc. Having an off-the-shelf vetiver replacement, supplement, or extension to these standard methods would be reassuring.

Ideas I'm pitching are 'bio-engineering' and 'green infrastructure' - next step is to market directly to civil construction contracting firms.

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#5 2020-11-20 00:17:31

Evan
Moderator

Re: Deterrents to expanding the use of vetiver grass technology on farms

Ideas I'm pitching are 'bio-engineering' and 'green infrastructure' - next step is to market directly to civil construction contracting firms.

In Australia from what I've seen, the civil contractors don't spec plant choice. The principal contractor does and is often following their best practice. Obviously this will be different in every country so I'm not speaking for anyone else's experiences. Local councils and governmental groups like catchment organisations tend to be the final selectors.

I've had a few civil requests come through and one from an airport was interesting. Contractor sent through the design for an airport retention basin and it had the native plant, Lomandra, crossed out and was replaced with 'Vertiver' (sic). The contractor had absolutely no idea what it was, or why it was selected, or how to plant it. I sent it through to Veticon and am not sure how it went.

One of our biggest catchment groups, Healthy Land & Water do have a few Vetiver jobs on the go and our Landcare company have planted some of it. It's a first step but integration of Vetiver into sites not as an adjunct but as the main framework is yet to come.

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