Author(s): C. A. Booth, M. A. Fullen
Field and laboratory studies suggest geotextile mats constructed from palm
leaves are an effective, sustainable and economically viable soil conservation
The three-year (2005-08) EU-funded BORASSUS Project (Contract
number INCO-CT-2005-510745) is evaluating their long-term effectiveness in
controlling soil erosion and assessing their sustainability and economic viability
in 10 countries in Africa, Europe, South America and South-East Asia.
technique offers potentially novel bioengineering solutions to environmental
problems, including technologies for soil conservation, sustainable plant
production and use of indigenous plants, improved ecosystem management,
decreasing deforestation, improving agroforestry and cost-effective geotextile
applications in diverse environments.
Palm geotextiles may improve
socio-economic foundations for sustainable development and the benefits for
developing countries may include poverty alleviation, engagement of local
people as stakeholders, employment for disadvantaged groups, small and
medium enterprise (SME) development, earning hard currency, environmental
education and local community involvement in land reclamation and
environmental education programmes.
These benefits are achieved through: (a)
Promotion of sustainable and environmentally-friendly palm agriculture to
discourage deforestation, promoting both reforestation and agroforestry; (b)
Construction of palm geotextiles developing into a rural labour-intensive
industry, particularly encouraging employment of socially-disadvantaged groups;
and (c) Export of palm geotextiles to industrialized countries earns hard currency
for rural developing economies, based on the principles of fair trade.
experiments are in progress in diverse field environments (agricultural and
archaeological sites, coastal sand dunes and engineered slopes) and in laboratory
simulations of both water and wind erosion processes.
soil and water conservation, Bioengineering technology, socioeconomic
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Paper DOI: 10.2495/SDP070582
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