India - Geosafety at the Konan Railway

Friday, January 30, 2009

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Several weeks ago I blogged the story of the Fianarantsoa Railway in Madagascar, and their use of Vetiver grass to stabilize the railway cuts along their 200 Km. of track.

An article just posted online on January 25, 2009 by The Times of India reports on the success of the Konan Railway after 11 years of operation connecting Mumbai with Mangalore. In the article, they quote a press release from the Konan Railway saying:

Efforts have been taken to increase safety on the route by executing massive earthworks, widening slopes, planting vetiver grass to control soil erosion, and other geo-tech works to arrest boulder falls and soil slippage during monsoon. Major traffic disruptions were averted on the route in past three years since these works were executed and a special monsoon timetable implemented on the route.
Konan Railway runs for 741 Km. and 564 rock cuttings constitute about 225 Km. of that. On the Konan Railway website, a document is posted describing their efforts on Geothech Safety. Extensive information on their commitment to Vetiver begins in page 14 of that document. Their commitment to good engineering and bio-engineering practices has been instrumental in reducing the number of boulder falls and soil slips from 132 in the year 2000 to 12 in 2008.

The
Vetiver grass varieties used for soil conservation by the Vetiver System, come from the south of India. It is great to see that it still holds such a preeminent status in that country.

More information on the
Konan Railway and its route map if you'd like to take a ride, can be found on Wikipedia.

Mauritius - Landscaping at Golf du Château

Monday, January 26, 2009

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Within The Vetiver Network we are so preoccupied with soil conservation issues, that we seldom find time to think of Vetiver as a landscaping plant. It takes a spectacular setting such as the golf course Golf du Château in the island of Mauritius to drive this point home and give us a new appreciation for our hard-working plants.

The plant was selected for this course by landscape artist Patrick Watson. His beautiful vision was made reality by Peter Matkovich of Matkovich and Hayes Golf Estates Solutions in South Africa. The Vetiver selection was based not only for its fantastic contrast to the green paspalum at different times of the year, but for its exceptional stabilization of the soils on the steep slopes, particularly as Mauritius is in a high rainfall belt. Needless to say, this is one “rough” where you do not want your ball to land.

As with most landscaping grasses, Vetiver needs substantial upkeep in a formal environment. Consistent watering, fertilization and bi-annual cutting and cleaning are necessary to maintain this elegant look. If you are up to the task, the results can be amazing.

Photo courtesy of Golf du Château

The Vetiver Caribbean Network and La Red Vetiver Latina Google Groups Now Open

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

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The Vetiver Caribbean Network Google Group and La Red Vetiver Latina Google Group are now officially open. This are two new discussion sites for the exchange of information and experiences related to the use of Vetiver plants and the Vetiver System in the Caribbean Region and in Latin America.

The Vetiver Caribbean Network is hosted by me in English, and La Red Vetiver Latina is hosted by Joachim Boehnert in Spanish. These groups are affiliated to The Vetiver Network International (TVNI) , and include many international members providing support to the Caribbean and Latinamerican countries. Membership is open and free. You are invited to visit or join either or both of these groups.

The Vetiver Network International Awards - 2008

Sunday, January 4, 2009

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Dear readers,

Your continued support has once again helped this blog achieve a distinction that makes me very proud. The Vetiver Network International Awards for 2008 have just been announced and our blog was recognized with one of the four awards for special contributions or achievements in the use of The Vetiver System. Our recognition for the contibutions made by this blog reads:

Alberto Rodriguez - Puerto Rico - The Best Vetiver System Blog of 2008
"For his blog
, The Vetiver Solutions Blog. His work is an inspiration and example for Vetiver users around the world, and especially for those in the Caribbean Region."
The other awards presented for 2008 went to our good friends:

  • Yoann Coppin of Madagascar was recognized for The Best Picasa Vetiver Systems Gallery. This gallery, Vetiver System - Madagascar, provides an excellent depiction of sand dune stabilization in Madagascar and the involvement of small farmers in Vetiver plant material production. (An earlier article in this blog, Madagascar - The Ilmenite Project, highlighted this excellent work)
  • Marco Forti from Italy achieved The Best Vetiver System Blog With New Ideas. Marco has shown great initiative in creating his blog site Journal of the Land. It is both in English and Italian and is full of innovative Vetiver applications.
  • Tony Cisse in Senegal has The Best Vetiver System Blog That Combines a Blog with Picasa Picture Albums. Tony's blog, Pepiniere Naac Baal, is published in English and French. His Picasa album collection can be seen here.
I am personally very pleased and surprised at the reach that this blog has had in just a few weeks of publication. A recent report from Google Analytics shows that, in the first few weeks of publication, we had over 4000 page views from 32 different countries! Thank you, readers, for your support and for helping us give this excellent technology the attention it deserves.


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