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#412: More on Kudzu: a healthier option: Blanchet comments

From: Max Blanchet <MaxBlanchet@worldnet.att.net>

Before we look to some exotic, imported plant that 

might do further damage to our badly-frayed ecology, let us 

simply look in our own backyard for a partial solution.

There we will find vetiver, a wonderful plant that has many 


1) It is disciplined and where you plant it is where it stays,

2) It is very tough and can thrive under a wide range of conditions

    related to rainfall, temperature, soil chemistry, slope, 

    resistance to pests due to its aromatic roots, etc.

3) It is well known to our peasants and became the mainstay of 

    Haiti's substantial oil industry, that is before the Duvaliers and 

    their satraps got their paws on it and nearly killed it.

The case for vetiver is well documented in:

A thin green line against erosion"

by the Board on Science and Technology for International 
Development, National Research Council

National Academy Press
Washington, D.C. 1993

This is what the preface of the book says about vetiver:

"In the eyes of at least some viewers, a little-known tropical

grass, vetiver, might at least offer one practical and 

inexpensive solution for controlling erosion simply, cheaply, 

and on a huge scale in both the tropical and semiarid regions.

Planted in lines along the contours of sloping lands, vetiver

quickly forms narrow but very dense hedges. Its stiff foliage

then blocks the passage of soil and debris. It also slows  any

runoff and gives rainfall a better chance of soaking into the 

soil instead of rushing off the slope ... the deeply rooted, 

persistent grass has restrained erodible soils in this way for

decades in Fiji, India, and some Caribbean nations."

It is interestng to note that among the many contributors to 

the book, one finds the name of Clifford Bellande, Care-Haiti, 

Port-au-Prince, Haiti.