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Vetiver Grass: A Thin Green Line Against Erosion (1993)

Chapter: Board on Science and Technology for International Development (BOSTID)

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Suggested Citation:"Board on Science and Technology for International Development (BOSTID)." National Research Council. 1993. Vetiver Grass: A Thin Green Line Against Erosion. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2077.
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Board on Science and Technology for International Development

ALEXANDER SHAKOW, Director, External Affairs, The World Bank, Washington, D.C., Chairman

Members

PATRICIA BARNES-MCCONNELL, Director, Bean/Cowpea CRSP, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan

JORDAN J. BARUCH, President, Jordan Baruch Associates, Washington, D.C.

BARRY BLOOM, Professor, Department of Microbiology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York

JANE BORTINCK, Assistant Chief, Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

GEORGE T. CURLIN, National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland

DIRK FRANKENBERG, Director, Marine Science Program, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

RALPH HARDY, President, Boyce-Thompson Institute for Plant Research, Inc., Ithaca, New York

FREDERICK HORNE, Dean, College of Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon

ELLEN MESSER, Allan Shaw Feinstein World Hunger Program, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island

CHARLES C. MUSCOPLAT, Executive Vice President, MCI Pharma, Inc., Minneapolis, Minnesota

JAMES QUINN, Amos Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire

VERNON RUTTAN, Regents Professor, Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, Minnesota

ANTHONY SAN PIETRO, Professor of Plant Biochemistry, Department of Biology, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

ERNEST SMERDON, College of Engineering and Mines, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona

GERALD P. DINEEN, Foreign Secretary, National Academy of Engineering, Washington, D.C., ex officio

JAMES WYNGAARDEN, Chairman, Office of International Affairs, National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council, Washington, D.C., ex officio

Suggested Citation:"Board on Science and Technology for International Development (BOSTID)." National Research Council. 1993. Vetiver Grass: A Thin Green Line Against Erosion. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2077.
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For developing nations, soil erosion is among the most chronic environmental and economic burdens. Vast amounts of topsoil are washed or blown away from arable land only to accumulate in rivers, reservoirs, harbors, and estuaries, thereby creating a double disaster: a vital resource disappears from where it is desperately needed and is deposited where it is equally unwanted.

Despite much rhetoric and effort, little has been done to overcome this problem. Vetiver, a little-known tropical grass, offers one practical and inexpensive way to control erosion on a huge scale in both humid and semi-arid regions. Hedges of this deeply rooted species catch and hold back sediments while the stiff foliage acts as a filter that also slows runoff and keeps moisture on site.

This book assesses vetiver's promise and limitations and identifies places where this grass can be deployed without undue environmental risk.

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