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Erosion Control and Stabilizing Lavakas in Madagascar

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

 A Lavaka!
The saying goes that Madagascar is eroding into the sea.  I visited Madagascar in the 1990's and was astounded by the truly vicious erosion that was taking place particularly in the north.  Where forests have disappeared and the land is heavily grazed one sees a topography covered in massive pockmarks comprising massive slips called "Lavakas".  See image to left.  The mass slippage of soil often ends up in the adjacent valley floors smothering rice fields.  At that time nothing had been done to stabilize these slips and prevent continuing erosion.

A few years ago a young Frenchman, Yoann Coppin owner of La Plantation Bemasaoandro started applying the Vetiver System to mitigate various environmental problems. Recently he has been contracted to stabilize lavakas associated with a railway and electrical pylons.  For more details see this file.

You should note that these applications are not for the fainthearted.  The applications involve complex quality planting techniques and design.

Exposed untreated lavaka below pylon

Treated lavaka below pylon

Lavaka slope protection works above railroad

Lavaka and railroad protected and stabilized with vetiver


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