The Vetiver System is used in more than 100 countries for soil and water conservation, infrastructure stabilization, pollution control, waste water treatment, mitigation and rehabilitation, sediment control, prevention of storm damage, and many other environmental protection applications (through bioengineering and phytoremediation).
The vetiver plant, Chrysopogon zizanioides, is the main component to all Vetiver System bioengineering and conservation applications. It can be used in the tropics and semi-tropics, and areas that have a Mediterranean climate where there are hot summers, and winters are temperate.
When Vetiver is planted as a hedgerow across a slope, it forms a very dense vegetative barrier that slows down and spreads rainfall runoff. Combined with a deep and strong root system, a wide range of pH tolerance from about pH 3 to pH 11, a high tolerance to most heavy metals, an ability to remove from soil and water large quantities of excess nitrates, phosphates and farm chemicals, the vetiver plant can be used for soil and water conservation, engineered construction site stabilization, pollution control (constructed wetlands), and other uses where soil and water come together.
A good vetiver hedge will reduce rainfall runoff by as much as 70% and sediment by as much as 90%. A hedgerow will stay where it is planted and the sediment that is spread out behind the hedgerow gradually accumulates to form a long-lasting terrace. It is a low-cost, labor-intensive technology claimed to have a very high benefit/cost ratio. When used for civil works protection, its cost is claimed to be about 1/20 of traditional engineered systems and designs.
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