Bamboo, Environment & Economy

Since our inception in 1998, The East Bali Poverty Project has strived to create sustainable community development by way of low-cost, high-quality, environmentally-friendly solutions.   Our programs are designed to create a symbiotic relationship between nature and humanity and to extract the maximum potential of each by the advancement of both.  They aim to teach the local community the importance of environmental preservation, while actively involving them in reforestation, erosion prevention, and resource recycling strategies.  It is through these projects that our end goal will ultimately be achieved: a system of environmentally-conscious villages acting as a unified model for conservation, preservation, and resource management.

Projects

Bamboo Reforestation

Situated between Mt. Abeng and Mt. Agung, Desa Ban is still dealing with the aftermath of Mt. Agung’s 1963 eruption.  Surrounded by harshly sloping lands comprised of arid, volcanic ash, the community’s lands face an uphill battle towards reforestation; agro-forestry and the growth of environmentally-sound business programs that will help improve the environment and the lives of the locals.  Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world, and on top of that it is the best known method of carbon sequestration.  We have taught the locals the importance of bamboo, and all of the benefits that can derived from it.  Bamboo is one of the best and most reliable construction materials in the world.  It grows fast enough that one can harvest and replant bamboo without depleting its supply, and the strength of the material can rival that of low grade steel.  With the help of Linda Garland, one of the leading bamboo experts in the world, we have taught the people in the surrounding villages how to plant bamboo, harvest it in order for the carbon to remain sequestered in its roots, and use it for various building projects ranging from huts to houses.

Vetiver Grass

Vetiver is a fast growing clump grass with sterile seeds that make it impossible for the plant to spread like a weed.  With a dense and deep root system (penetrates up to 3 meters below the ground surface) it is able to prevent against erosion and landslides.  Through this function vetiver has also enabled the building of protected roads, fortification of fertile farmland, and flood protection.  Beyond this Vetiver acts as a purifying agent, improving soil fertility and water quality, and is one of the most effective natural methods of carbon sequestration.  Vetiver is also harvested in a variety of ways that can provide building materials and crafts that can be sold to help stimulate the local economy.

Vetiver handicraft “bag/basket” training course:

We have brought in the world’s top vetiver grass handicraft trainers from Thailand to educate a collection of the Ekoturin staff, school teachers, and village leaders so that they could then pass on this information.

Production of dried Vetiver grass clothing, bags, hats, and furnishings for local businesses and cooperatives:

After teaching the local community various items that can be made from the roots of vetiver grass we are now helping them to market the products locally and eventually will start to market internationally.

For more information on the qualities and benefits of vetiver grass please visit the “Indonesian Vetiver Network” page on our website.

Biogas

Cow manure is collected and mixed with water in a large metal drum.  This mixture will quickly start to ferment, releasing methane gas. The gas is transferred from the metal drum into a rubber inner-tire tubing and the people in our villages then use the biogas to serve the same cooking and heating functions as regular propane gas.