Vetiver for Soil and Water Conservation: In Commemoration of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great

“…Grasses consist of weeds which are useless and others which are beneficial – such as vetiver which is highly useful in soil and water conservation as it has deep root systems penetrating deep down in the soil beneath it, increasing the water-holding capacity of the soil and its ability to hold soil particles tightly together. It also has compactly arranged stems which act as a barrier to all sediments and debris, and conserve soil surface. Analogous to the aforementioned issue of grasses, individuals may be those who lead a useless life, others who lead valuable lives. Grasses are an excellent lesson, to be considered as a motto in maintaining individual’s lives, i.e. to behave like weeds which cause problems and hardship to the environment, or to behave like vetiver which only creates uses and stability for the land it thrives on…”

His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great’s
Address given on 24 July 1997
At the Graduation Ceremony, Kasetsart University

His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great of Thailand (King Rama IX) had been emphasizing the importance of sustainable natural resources management by means of “nature cures nature.” As regard to the prevention of topsoil erosion, His Majesty first conveyed the idea of using vetiver grass on 22 June 1991 and again later in many other occasions.

The person behind the success of vetiver technology in Thailand is His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej (King Rama IX), the first person in the country to recognize the value of vetiver and to start experimenting with it since early days, after having carefully studied the approach of the World Bank in using vetiver grass. His Majesty the Late King gave the first royal initiative on 22 June 1991 to encourage the utilization of vetiver in Thailand for soil and water conservation.

For 28 years, vetiver has proven to be an effective and low-cost technique which readily be practiced by farmers for slowing water-runoff, reducing erosion, and increasing the soil moisture for crop and plant growth. Apart from soil and water conservation, vetiver has also presented other potential economic values such as for fodder, mulch, essential oils, animal bedding and handicrafts.

His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great was praised by international community as the exemplary role for the developing countries in the utilization of vetiver grass for soil and environmental conservation. By recognizing this important international contribution, the International Erosion Control Association (IECA) bestowed His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great with the International Merit Award.

The royal initiatives of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great have been pursued with the true commitment of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, His Majesty’s daughter. She graciously accepted the invitation by the Vetiver Network in 2000 to act as the Pathron of the Vetiver Network international (TVNI). She also presided over the Opening Ceremony of all six International Conferences on Vetiver.

In addition, His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Phra Vajiraklaochaoyuhua (King Rama X), the present king, has expressed his strong determination to preserve and extend the initiatives of King Rama IX, including those concern the development and promotion of the utilization of vetiver grass. An example is when His Majesty suggested the concerned agencies to plant vetiver grass along Huai Sai Khamin Reservoir which has been attacks by the tropical storm “sonca” in 2017 to prevent future demolition.

On 4 – 8 February 1996, Thailand received the honor from the Vetiver Network International (TVNI) to host the First International Conference on Vetiver (ICV-1) in Chiang Rai, Thailand. The following ICVs took place with ever-growing interest at Petchaburi (ICV-2:Thailand, 2000); Guangzhou (ICV-3: China, 2003); Caracas (ICV-4: Venezuela, 2006); Lucknow (ICV-5: India, 2011) and Danang (ICV-6: Vietnam, 2015).

During 26 – 29 October 2020, the Chaipattana Foundation and the Office of the Royal Development Projects Board (ORDPB), as a Secretariat of Thailand Vetiver Network and Pacific Rim Vetiver Network, are organizing the Seventh International Conference on Vetiver (ICV-7) in Chiang Mai, Thailand, under the theme “Vetiver for Soil and Water Conservation:  In Commemoration of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great” in honor of His Majesty the Late King who was the initiator as well as strong supporter of scientific method of vetiver utilization for soil and water conservation.

The Conference is open to all scholars, experts, researchers, scientists and practitioners from all parts of the world with knowledge and experiences on the utilization of vetiver grass in all disciplines because the diverse uses of vetiver grass will ultimately lead to soil and water conservation. It is believed that this conference will highly be beneficial to the participants by offering a forum for the exchange of knowledge, views and experiences on various techniques and developments of vetiver grass utilization and its contribution to soil and water conservation.

Above all, the Organizing Committee is pleased to inform you that ICV-7 will be honored by the presence of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn who will graciously preside over the Opening Ceremony of the conference.

The conference has three main sessions: plenary, concurrent and poster. All sessions will be based on seven major categories:

  1. Soil and Water Conservation Attributes
  2. Basic Research and General Studies
  3. Pollution Control and Treatment / Restoration and Rehabilitation of Disturbed and Contaminated Areas
  4. Disaster Prevention
  5. Training and Technology Dissemination
  6. Alternative Uses and Socio-economic Values of Vetiver
  7. Other Topics

ICV-7 is organized to commemorate His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s life-long dedication to uplift the people well-being through several royal initiatives. One among them is the introduction of the utilization of vetiver grass for soil and water conservation which has brought about positives changes in Thailand in terms of agricultural promotion, disaster prevention, bio-engineering, pollution control and so on. In remembrance of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the Office of the Royal Development Projects Board and the Chaipattana Foundation will be responsible for all expenses in organizing ICV-7.

Therefore, no registration fee has to be paid for attending the conference and the post-conference technical tours. All participants will receive, as a compliment from the Organizing Committee, the admission to all sessions, conference materials as well as all coffee breaks, meals during the conference period. However, the participants are required to pay for their own domestic/international travel and accommodation during the conference period.