Erosion control products: cost effective alternatives for revegetation

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Courtesy of CoirGreen

Erosion is any horticulturist’s worst nightmare. From the process of replanting and restoration, to the loss of the most fertile soil, i.e. the topsoil, erosion can have damaging effects on any cultivation. Although erosion is mainly associated with water erosion, wind erosion and tillage are another two forms of erosion.

So what are the signs that can help identify erosion early on? Below are a few of the factors that affect soil erosion;

  • The structure and texture of the soil will determine the erodibility of the soil, i.e. the ability of the soil to resist erosion
  • The intensity and duration of rainfall will affect the rate of erosion
  • A steeper and long slope of a field will increase the chances of erosion
  • The roughness of the soil’s surface will affect the resistance of soil against wind erosion
  • A lack of windbreaks or unsheltered distances will increase abrasion and erosion
  • The speed and depth of tillage, i.e. a deep tillage, will disturb the soil

However, soil erosion can be controlled. Erosion control is the practice of preventing or controlling wind or water erosion in agriculture, land development and construction. For this, many methods have been introduced over the years, such as reforestation, no-till farming, contour ploughing, terracing, and windbreaks, while in the recent past horticulturists and agriculturists have adopted the practice of using man-made erosion control products.

At CoirGreen™, we know the benefit horticulturists, environmental engineers and agriculturists receive when they use erosion control products. As such, in an effort to promote eco-friendly practices in erosion control methods, we produce 100% natural and biodegradable erosion control products which are made out of coir fibers. Erosion control blanket (coco blankets), geotextile (coir netting), coirlog (waterlogs/biologs), coir pallet (coir pillow), and jute geotextile are the green solutions provided by CoirGreen to control soil erosion.

Each of these products assists in reducing soil erosion.

Coir erosion control blanket, also known as coco blankets are laid down on the soil for slope stabilisation, landslide stabilisation and river-bank protection. These dimensionally stable blankets enhance vegetation growth as it allows the root system to establish solid support. Coir erosion control blankets can be easily transported and deployed, and once the biodegradation process starts, the spun and woven coir blanket’s remnants can found in the form of hummus. Another advantage of using coco blankets instead of its synthetic counterpart is that it is naturally capable of retaining the necessary amount of water for the soil. Coco erosion control blanket use extends beyond erosion control, and has been identified for landscaping, vegetation control and sedimentation control.

Geotextiles or coir netting produced using coir fibers have the ability to separate, filter, reinforce, protect or drain any water to reduce soil erosion reduces, while holding the soil together. It is mainly used for bioengineering and stabilisation of slopes that have low erodibility. Geotextiles permeate the flow of water in and out from it, therefore allowing the necessary amount of water to reach the soil to maintain its fertility. It has been produced to last for 3-5 years, thereafter the degradation process takes place and transforms it into hummus, which enriches the soil, thereby reducing any time and cost that would have been spent for the removal of it. Apart from its use for soil stabilisation, geotextiles are also used for stream/river bank protection, shoreline stabilisation, storm water channels, filtration in road drains and land reclamation, highway cut and filled slopes etc.

Coirlogs (waterlogs/biologs, coco logs) are made out of rolled coir fibers ranging from 7 – 9kg per linear meter whose cylindrical shape is reinforced using coir netting. The diameter of the log ranges from 20cm-50cm with 2 or 4 meter length for the cylindrical logs. The coir logs are generally used for hills, banks, shorelines, and other erosion prone areas, as it is able to control erosion due to its ability to reduce the velocity of water and the movement of sediment. The coir acts as mulch on the surface and as a wick in the soil mantle. When coir logs are placed it protects the plants from being affected by erosion, until they are fully grown and are capable of stabilising the soil through their growth. And once the plants take over the stabilisation, the logs will degrade and enrich the soil as humus as the logs are 100% natural and biodegradable.

Coir pallets are used to establish marginal vegetation around rivers, lakes and canals, especially those that are artificially lined as it can be used as an alternative for hard revetments. The high lignin content of the coir helps the pallets to cope with water that is coming at a high velocity, thereby protecting the vegetation against water erosion. These coir pallets are versatile as they can be used to grow any mix of wetland plants, and also be used to control wind erosion. Coir pallets are also used for mulching, vegetative water channels, and as a natural solution for scour protection.

CoirGreen offers two types of jute products, they are, jute geotextile and hessian. These are ideal to protect the soil from wind erosion. These products stop the top soil from being blown away, however its porous texture enables water to reach the plants that are trying to establish themselves on a steep slope. Hessian is a plain cloth made wholly out of jute with a single wrap and weft interwoven, while jute geo textile is woven using high quality jute.

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