Vetiver International Newsletter

Australia, Queensland — Vetiver hedgerow on Darling Downs flood prone vertisols. (Photo – Paul Truong)

Vietnam: Reclaiming sand “desert” with vetiver grass – (Photo – Ngo Duc Ndo)

Current, climate change related, extreme drought, heatwave and flood events are having a devasting impact on us all. The agricultural sector is especially impacted, particularly small and vulnerable farmers. The Vetiver System can help prevent/reduce some of the negative impacts of climate change if applied prior to the event; and can be used to mitigate some of the damage after the event. It is important to remind ourselves what the Vetiver System can do for the agricultural sector……. Vetiver hedges will reduce the impact of flood damage by slowing and spreading out the flow of water, improving infiltration and groundwater recharge, reducing field erosion, downstream sedimentation and fertility losses; as a mulch, reduce soil temperatures and conserving soil moisture, thus extending the time to plant wilting – often the difference between total crop loss and crop survival. Weakened crops often lead to greater pest damage – vetiver, in some instances, will mitigate the latter.

Our cover photo from Ngo Duc Tho (Vietnam) shows how vetiver in recent years can be used to rehabilitate a sand “desert”. Twenty years ago, Paul Truong and some commercial farmers planted (as part of the Land Care program) vetiver on the heavy, black cracking, flood prone vertisols of Queensland’s Darling Downs … the vetiver hedgerows reduced rainfall runoff and flood water velocity, improved drainage at the hedge line and prevented erosion. Graham Dabbs (Zimbabwe) is currently using vetiver for the same purpose as the Darling Downs application in support of small African farmers. Small farmers on all the continents are using vetiver to protect their land and crops against more frequent extreme events.

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