Vetiver in Carbon Sequestration

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

As evidence mounts on the effect of the increased amounts of carbon dioxide on global warming, the world looks for alternative methods to mitigate the problem. Because of its longevity and extraordinary root mass, Vetiver is becoming one of the leading contenders for carbon sequestration. This bioengineering application of Vetiver accomplishes the long-term storage of carbon dioxide or other forms of carbon through biological processes. With Vetiver, carbon products are extracted from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and stored permanently in its root mass.

An article published in the September issue of Current Science titled Sequestration of atmospheric carbon into subsoil horizons through deep-rooted grasses – Vetiver Grass Model (PDF) , states in its preamble:

Choosing the strategies to mitigate global warming should envisage sustenance of soil carbon sink, and also long-term locking of excess carbon deep into the soil horizon. Fast growing grasses with penetrating deep root system would facilitate long-term locking of atmospheric carbon below plough layer with reduced chances of being recycled to atmosphere and recuperate soil carbon sink. Vetiver, a non-invasive C4 grass with fast-growing tufted root system, reaching 3 m just in one year could be an ideal global candidate with a holding potential of 1 kg atmospheric carbon, sequestered annually deep into the soil pool from one sq metre surface area.
Another document from the European Union, Climate change: Commission dishes the dirt on the importance of soil (PDF), raises a red flag about damaging the remaining carbon reservoirs by not protecting Europe's forests and peat bogs. You can read about the complete European Union thematic strategy on soils in the pages from the European Commission.

In tropical and subtropical climates, Vetiver is a clear alternative for increasing these carbon storages, while at the same time providing a soil conservation and stabilization solution in many scenarios. We can all do our part by using and promoting Vetiver in our homes and neighborhoods, and encouraging our USA government agencies to catch up with the rest of the world.

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