to initiate a complementary operation to take over should the abandonment of this project occur.1
It is clear that vetiver could become a vital component of land use throughout the warmer parts of the world. It might be a low-cost way to protect billions of dollars of investment already made in agriculture and forestry, not to mention roads, dams, and other public works throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America. It also could become a backstop built into future projects as a way to help protect the environment from many soil disturbances.
At present, however, that is all speculation. it is critical for countries to establish vetiver trials quickly, which would serve to show local decision makers what this grass has to offer their programs and projects.
To expedite, motivate, and assure success in such a massive number of trials, we suggest consideration of what could be called a "vetiver SWAT team." This might involve a small number of vetiver specialists, brought in on short-term assignment to show local authorities how and where to put in small vetiver demonstration trials.
These trials might be incorporated into specific projects dealing with topics such as those discussed below.
In farming areas, trials could be particularly effective. With vetiver hedges reducing rainfall runoff, farmers should encounter more moisture in their soils so that crops produce higher yields and tolerate drought better. Given a successful demonstration, the word is likely to spread rapidly from farmer to farmer. Thus, not only the environmental stability of an area but also its productivity may increase.
Foresters are likely to be impressed as well. By holding soil and moisture on site and by providing windbreaks, vetiver strips would be
The Nitrogen-Fixing Tree Association is perhaps a good model. One professor, some part-time help from graduate students, and support from eager volunteers in a dozen nations was all that was needed to get leucaena and other nitrogen-fixing trees established as prime reforestation candidates throughout the tropics. Another excellent model is the International Ferrocement Information Center, located at the Asian Institute of Technology near Bangkok, Thailand. It provides similar services, with verve and style, to people interested in the construction material called "ferrocement." The key is the enthusiasm, commitment, and drive of its staff, not its size or budget.