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

HOLISTIC APPROACH TO VETIVER GRASS HEDGEROW TECHNOLOGY (VGHT)

Monday, April 22, 2013



You will find an old unpublished paper by Dr. P. K. Yoon of Malaysia on our website, titled "Use of Vetiver for Embankment and Stabilization" see:  http://www.vetiver.org/MAL_P.K%20Yoon_stab_o.pdf  It contains some interesting and useful information, some of which is still relevant today.  Dr Yoon is a firm believer in Confucian principles and I extract the following from his paper that you may find particularly interesting with regard to how and why vetiver hedgerows are so successful.

"A natural slope, where the dynamics of the various forces are balanced, is always  stable This mature ecosystem  has  developed  natural cover of mixed vegetation that adequately protects it. However, when man disturbs Mother Nature by his many activities, the equilibrium is upset leading to erosion, instability and slope failures. Unfortunately as development occurs hilly land has to be cleared for agriculture, human settlements, and infrastructure. To minimizthese adverse effects, the damage to Mother Nature must be repaired as soon as possible. For this, the system/technology applied must be Socially acceptable, Economically justified and Environment friendly (the SEE System). The best holistic approach would be to imitate nature and to be in harmony with nature as practiced in "Tao",  ''Tai chi" and "Chi". These century old philosophies present deep insights into the real happenings in nature.

In "Tao" water is always stronger than rocks, water wears away rocks and other solid structures. In "Tai Chi" strength does not imply rigidity. It is the exact opposite: strength must mean integrating the means for flexibility. In "Chi" the forces circulating within a system must be guided in the correct Path.

VGHR is firm (not rigid) due to its neat and compact form with lots of up­-standing good active culms and with no dead centre.  Its strength lies in its flexibility, of being able to grow, to bend, to adjust and dissipate the prevailing intrusive force by allowing excessive hydraulic force to go through but with much reduced energy.   It does not have to absorb the whole force.  It is easy to use VGHR if one appreciates the "Tao" philosophy of doing little (or nothing) , the "Tai Chi" philosophy of using
small forces to progressively neutralise a great force, and the "Chi" sensitivity on how to deal with the ever  changing directions of the destructive forces.    With these appreciations, we will be better able to understand the requirements demanded of the Vetiver Grass Hedgerow technology.

There is no substitute for knowing HOW things happen and for acting accordingly. Everything is bound by this principle.

The clearest  most helpful word is HOW. Yet this is the most difficult. Understanding this would lead to developing simple practical approaches of VGHT."

Dick Grimshaw

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