Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Ecology

First Advisor

Billie J. Collier


The study of sugar cane fiber geotextiles represents a holistic approach to interdisciplinary research that includes product development, product testing, industry and target market identification, and strategic and financial planning for manufacturing and distribution. Based upon satisfactory results of prior research, a field test of soil erosion control in a natural environment was designed to determine performance of the sugar cane product and commercially available natural fiber geotextiles of wood, straw, and coconut fiber. Field test results indicated that the sugar cane mats allowed grass from planted seed to germinate and the mats maintained integrity during heavy rains. Due to the limited amount of geotextile industry data available, a niche market was identified to ascertain market size, usage applications, and product and price information. A questionnaire was sent to the 50 state Departments of Transportation and responses included: the combined annual usage rate of natural fiber erosion control blankets is a minimum of 2.6 million yd$\sp2$ (2.2 million m$\sp2)$ which is a $2.6 million contribution to the industry, erosion control products are applied heavily during new construction and for channel liners, and concern for the environment has popularized the use of organic products. A business plan was developed to determine viability for a company to manufacture and distribute sugar cane fiber geotextiles and related products. It was determined that a company could be profitable due to the low raw material cost of converting agricultural waste to a value-added product.