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Thai treasures!

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Vetiver handicrafts

Paul Truong

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Ho Chi Minh Highway

Ho Chi Minh Highway

Ho Chi Minh Highway
Vetiver has done its job! 14 years later stable slopes, clean road drains, and now mainly native species

Madagascar - Vetiver System in Action

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Yoann Coppin has a Vetiver business in Madagascar. Below is a short note from him describing some of the problems and solutions. Yoann has an excellent photo gallery where you can see images of his work. As in other applications the cardinal rule of correct technical application remains an essential part of achieving success. You can contact Yoann at his email.

"Since I began slope stabilization work for the national railway company (MADARAIL) in July 2009 in northern Madagascar (MADARAIL is not in charge of the FCE line, where Vetiver was used so successfully), I planted Vetiver at 5 locations (about 10,000m² in total) along the railway, and it will continue, so my business is expanding after 2 years of work. MADARAIL had some serious problem of soil erosion, and no serious solution, except concrete, lawn, gabions... Some "subcontractors" planted Vetiver but unsuccessfully. MADARAIL gave me a try (remember my pics in the album Slopes stabilisation on railway) and was very happy with the result! Moreover, I suggested to stabilize and prevent erosion on the slashed-and-burned lands along the railway, in the interest of many people, and of course of the company (similarly to the FCE where a lot of landslides were coming from these agricultural practices, causing a lot of damage to the railway track, drains, and train traffic); it seems to like the suggestion, and I think we will do it. So 2010 will be surely be full of work for me (especially along the railway!!), and I'm very satisfied.

The project of planting Vetiver for 1) riverbanks and hydro-infrastructures protection, 2) trapping lavaka created sediment that destroy nearby rice fields, and 3) controlling the flow of water from lavaka to protect the ricefields against flooding, was started in December. After a study in the field in October, I decided to use Vetiver in pots, and will use the 1 m long pot – this is rather like the I meter Vetiver strips (I call it for myself "VHR", for Vetiver Hedge Row), to be produced through local farmers nurseries. In December we have done 4.100 VHR, and the target is 15.000 VHR. We will start to replant on site in April, after the rainy season is finished. I will return there, Ambatondrazaka, very soon. I think you already met the chief of project, Mr.Philippe Grandjean, he knows you!

The water clean up project has some problems since December:

- the first site, the first done, in the park, was supposed to be maintained by the community, beneficiary of the project. But due to political problems nobody looked after our Vetiver, and now the water hyacinth has already killed 60% of the plants!! It's a pity, because the plants were nicely developed, even one month ago (see pics) and water quality began to change in the canal, with a lot of biodiversity coming!! (it's the first time I see a cameleon in the town!!). And as I don't stay in Tana, I didn't have the time to take care of this site. Such is the risk when the project is in partnership!

-the second site (big one, far more polluted) received so much sediment and rubbish, brought by large flows after heavy rains, that the majority of the plants were covered by a mix of mud, rubbish, and other strange things (let you imagine :) so many that even strongest plants were killed, more and after each heavy rainfall. Now only 15% remain, so many lessons and conclusions can be taken from this experience: the Vetiver is easily killed when recovered by mud, and it needs a lot of protection upstream (there were 2 strong filters but it was not enough). Also the sediments are growing up, and when they meet the floats they are blocked, so they grow even up the float and up the plants! The site has to be pre developed to be to ready to receive Vetiver, or even a special site created, as a regulated deviation (in this case the problem is due to the strong flow of water, following heavy rains and sedimentation). The canal collects all the water from a huge area made of the shanty towns and industrial area that make up the catchment. In future, it would be better to place the floating Vetiver directly in the lake where there is less risks of "flooding" and sedimentation.


We continue developing handicrafts. I started a new plantation and nursery on December, in Moramanga.While I write this mail, I just made an update of my albums picasa, at this link: http://picasaweb.google.com/Yoannmada"


Yoann Coppin, La Plantation Bemasoandro SARLU, Vetiver System Applications, Antananarivo-Madagascar"

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