The “Vetiver System” depends on the multi-purpose use and application of a very unique grass, vetiver grass (Vetiveria zizanioides), which is a non invasive species found in most tropical and semi-tropical counties. Initially (1980s) the World Bank promoted its use in India for on farm soil and water conservation, later in the early 1990s the Vetiver Network (International) (A US based non-profit foundation), was established, and through investments in research, training and intensive internet networking expanded the Vetiver System’s application to nearly every poorly developed country in Africa, Asia, and Latin America; and at the same time widened the range of application of the technology to its use in solving many natural resource water and soil related problems. It truly is an exciting plant and system!
In addition, and this is the really fascinating aspect of the Vetiver System (VS), there is now extensive experience and research backup proving it can be used for so many other applications that impact on rural populations. Just to mention a few: VS has great potential for water quality improvement (removal of pollutants – including agrochemicals and industrial heavy metals - from surface runoff, and for in situ cleaning of polluted village surface water supplies (village ponds); rural sewage and related public health protection; water quantity improvement (aquifer recharge) on a microwatershed scale; protection of river banks and levees against tropical storm damage and wave action of passing boats, rural road stabilization and reduced construction and maintenance costs; rehabilitation of degraded agricultural lands (mine tailings; landslide mitigation); prevention and stabilization of rural/urban gullies that threaten local infrastructure, soil organic matter renewal and soil nutrient recycling; conversion of slash and burn to sedentary agriculture; handicrafts; forage; rural medicinal uses; rural energy and more! On top of all this, because of its extraordinary root system, it has, at this time of climate change, the potential for significant atmospheric carbon sequestering.
The Vetiver Network International hosts a comprehensive website