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Bamboo research in the Philippines - Cristina A.

Roxas
Senior Science Research Specialist, Forest Ecosystem Research Division, Ecosystems
Research and Development Bureau, Department of Environment and Natural Resources,
College, Laguna, The Philippines.

Introduction

The Philippines has a total land area of 300 000 km2. It is composed of more than 7000 islands
clustered into three major groups namely: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

The country has a tropical climate, temperature of 21-34°C and annual rainfall of 120-270 m3. It
is rich in natural resources but some of it is endangered due to illegal logging, mining and other
land utilization as well as over exploitation problems. The natural vegetation is highly diverse
with some 8500 species of flowering plants and 2000 species of ferns. It has 15.88 million ha or
53% of the total land area declared as forest lands. The remaining forests comprise 5686 million
ha or 18.9% of the total land area of the country. Out of the total forests, only about 0.805
million ha or 14% remain dipterocarp old growth or virgin forests. These areas have been
placed under the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) for conservation and
protection since 1 Jan 1992, hence, no logging is allowed in these areas. The remaining
residual forests, on the other hand, comprise only of 2963 million ha or 52% of the total forest
area. Pine forests cover 0.232 million ha or 4% of the area (The Philippine Forestry Statistics
1995).

Bamboo resources and species

There has not been any reliable inventory of available erect bamboos nationwide except that of
an FRI-RP-German Project conducted in 1988. Result of the said inventory estimated the
bamboo resources at about 10 730 million linear metres, most of which are represented by
climbing bamboos totalling 8318 linear metres. In the said inventory, only five species were
covered. Of the five species covered, Schizostachyum lima and Schizostachyum
lumampao which are naturally growing in the forests were the most plentiful, the former with
27.2 million culms and the latter, with 172.0 million culms available. The Master Plan (1997) for
the development of bamboo as a renewable and sustainable resource reported that there were
39 000 to 52 000 ha of bamboo stand distributed as follows: 20 500-34 000 ha in the forest
lands; 2236 ha in government plantation; 3037 ha of privately-owned plantations; and 13 455 ha
of “natural stands”.

At present, there are 62 species of bamboos recorded in the country. Previous records (1991)
showed only 47 bamboo species. The increase in the number of species was due to the
introduction of some bamboos as a result of the efforts of the Ecosystems Research and
Development Bureau (ERDB) to establish bambuseta in a number of places in the country, ie.
Baguio City; Los Baños, Laguna; Nabunturan, Davao del Norte; Malaybalay and Bukidnon.
There may have been other new introductions of bamboos in the country, but these have not
been reported, seen or identified. Most likely, these are bamboos introduced and planted by
garden enthusiasts and are kept as private collections.

Of the 62 bamboo species which are shown in Table 1, 21 are endemic or native Philippine
bamboos. Thirteen are climbers and eight are erect. The rest are introduced and a few of them,
introduced in prehistoric times. The commercially important bamboos which are usually used in
construction, furniture, basketry and decorative articles are shown in Table 2. The current
commercial bamboos can be increased to 15 species, especially those with thick culm walls and
big-diameter culms which include Bambusa bambos (L.) Voss, B. oldhamiiMunro, B.
utilis Lin, Dendrocalamus latiflorus Munro D., giganteus Munro, and Guadua angustifolia Kunth
(Rojo 1998; Dransfield and Widjaja 1995; Gonzales and Umali 1995; INBAR 1997; Pancho and
Obien 1988).

Table 1. Bamboo species growing in the Philippines

Genus Species Remarks Origin


Arundinaria A. amabilis NI Chile
Bambusa B. atra OI New Guinea
B. bambos OI India
B. blumeana OI Java & Malaya
B. cornuta OI
B. dolichomerithalla OI Taiwan
Bambusa sp. 1 N
B. multiplex OI Southern China
B. multiplex f. variegata NI Japan
B. multiplex f. elegans NI Japan
B. multiplex cv. fernleaf NI
B. multiplex cv. golden goddess NI Chile
B. multiplex cv. A. Karr NI Chile
B. oldhamii OI China
B. tuldoides OI Southern China
B. utilis OI Southern China
B. vulgaris OI China
B. vulgaris var. maculata OI
B. vulgaris var. striata OI
B. vulgaris cv. wamin OI China
Chimonobambusa C. falcata NI
(Syn. Sinarundinaria falcata)

Dendrocalamus D. asper OI
D. brandisii NI
D. giganteus NI
D. latiflorus OI
D. membranaceus NI
D. strictus NI
Dinochloa Dinochloa sp. N
Dinochloa sp. N
D. diffusa N
Dinochloa sp. N
D. luconiae N
D. pubiramaea N
Gigantochloa G. atroviolacea NI
G. atter OI
G. levis OI Java and Sumatra
Guadua G. angustifolia NI Columbia
G. angustifolia var. bicolor NI Columbia

Melocanna M. baccifera NI Bangladesh


Pleioblastus P. argenteastriatus NI Japan
P. chino f. elegantissimus NI Japan
P. chino f. pumilus NI Chile
P. chino f. pygmaeus NI Chile
P. distichus NI Japan
P. fortunei cv. fortunei NI Japan
Phyllostachys P. aurea OI China
P. bambusoides NI Australia
P. nigra NI China
P. pubescens NI Japan
Sasa S. kurilensis NI Chile
S. nipponica NI Japan
S. palmata NI Chile
Sasaella S. ramosa NI Chile
Schizostachyum S. brachycladum yellow OI Asia
S. brachycladum green OI Phil.
S. lima N Phil.
S. lumampao N Phil.
Schizostachyum sp. N Phil.
Schizostachyum sp. N Phil.
Shibataea S. kumasasa NI Japan
Thyrsostachys T. siamensis OI Thailand
Yushania Y. niitakayamensis OI
N - Native Species, NI - New Introductions, OI - Old Introductions
(PCARRD 1991; Reyes 1992; RP-German project 1988; Sinohin 1990)
Table 2. Economically important bamboos (FAO/ERDB/DENR 1991)
1. Bambusa blumeana - J. A. & J. H. Schultes
2. B. vulgaris Schrader ex Wendland
3. Bambusa sp. 1
4. Bambusa sp. 2
5. Dendrocalamus asper (Shultes f.) Backer ex Heyne
6. Gigantochloa atter (Hassk) Kurz.
7. G. levis (Blanco) Merr.
8. Schizostachyum lumampao (Blanco) Merr.
There are also other bamboo species which need to be conserved. These species are
considered rare and endangered like Bambusa atra, Bambusa cornuta, Schizostachyum
luzonicum, S. textorium, Cephalostachyum mindorensis and Yushania niitakayamensis.

Culture and heritage


Bamboo is integral in the lives of the Filipinos and its endless uses affect them from birth
through their life. Rural midwives use the razor-sharp bamboo knife (Schizostachyum lima) to
cut off the newly born baby's umbilical cord. Houses are built with bamboo splits or woven
bamboo mats called “pawali”. Bamboo is nourishing food when cooked with coconut milk, fish or
with “salujot” (jute, local green vegetable). Culms are carved to make cooking utensils or
containers for rice.

It also forms a part of the country's history and cultural heritage. The famous bamboo organ in
Lao Piras Church in Paranague, Rigal was built in 1818 by Father Diego Cerra, a priest-
musician, visited by many tourists even at present.

The national dancers use bamboo as part of the dance as in the famous “tinikling” and the
elegant “singkil” where dancers weave in and out of bamboo poles pounded together
rhythmically. Thin-walled bamboos like the ratine butio (Schizostachyum lumampao) are used.

In “tuba” (coconut wine) gathering system, bamboo poles are arranged for gatherers to move
freely from one tree to another in their “avenue in the sky”). Balo (Kligantochloa buis) is the
species usually used for this purpose.

Bamboo research and development

Aside from initiating the establishment of pilot bamboo plantations and bambuseta in different
parts of the country, ERDB, through the UNDP-FAO Bamboo Research and Development
Project, conducted research on various aspects of bamboos. Different programmes were
conducted to raise the awareness of the people on the importance of bamboos. Farmer Training
on Bamboo Propagation was conducted in different parts of the country. Out of the results of
research and technologies developed, different publications resulted and they were distributed
to various sectors. Since then, people have become aware of the potentials of bamboo and both
the public and private individuals/organizations embarked on the massive propagation and
planting of bamboos.

Bamboo taxonomy

Logically, it is important that all bamboo species must be properly identified. Bamboos are found
everywhere and research on various aspects of bamboo involve many problems in the country.
The information accumulated from such research should also be transferable. However, if the
bamboo species are not correctly identified and if voucher specimens are not kept or cited, the
result has little value. Likewise, identification of bamboos with common or local names, is
absolutely discouraged because a bamboo species has many local names not only in the place
where it grows, but also in the town or provinces, where it is found growing or marketed. In the
case of the Philippine bamboos, there are a number of taxonomic problems. Verification based
on the previously collected and identified voucher specimens became impossible because these
collections were burned during the war. New collections were only made in the late 1980s, when
the Philippine Plant Inventory Project was implemented, with Dr Benjamin Stone as the
consultant. Other taxonomists like Dr Elizabeth A. Widjaja of Herbarium Bogoriense, Bogor,
Indonesia and Dr Soejatmi Dransfield of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, UK have helped in
the identification of some of the important bamboos in the country.

In 1989, Dr Widjaja visited the Philippines and conducted a training course on Bamboo
Taxonomy. She visited different parts of the country to identify various bamboos.
In 1993, Dr S. Dransfield also visited different parts of country, specifically the Luzon area. She
collected specimens of Schizostachyum and Dinochloa, which needed further verification. Since
then, she studied, revised and published articles on the said bamboo species. In 1994, Rojo et
al. conducted a 3-year project on bamboos “Field guide for the identification of erect bamboos
grown in the Philippines,” collected botanical materials from the field for taxonomic study,
provided updated nomenclature of the species and produced a guide book for their
identification. In this project, 42 erect bamboo species were identified and described, a key for
the identification was constructed.

Bamboo conservation

Due to the diminishing wood supply, bamboos are now in high demand as raw material sources
for furniture, handicraft and many products. Because of this, bamboos are over cut by improper
harvesting methods, causing serious genetic erosion due to unabated pressure. Hence, there is
an urgent need for in situ and ex situ conservation, especially for those considered rare and
endangered. In 1987, ERDB, through the UNDP-FAO Bamboo Research and Development
Project, initiated the establishment of pilot bamboo plantations and bambuseta in different parts
of the country. Details about these plantations and bambuseta are shown in Tables 3 and 4.

Table 3. Bamboo species planted in pilot plantations, their hectarage and location

Location Species planted Area/s planted


Bambusa blumeana 2 ha
Bambusa vulgaris 2 ha
Rosario, La Union
Bambusa sp. 1 (bayog) 2 ha
Dendrocalamus asper 2 ha
Bambusa blumeana 2 ha
Bambusa vulgaris 2 ha
Magalang, Pampanga
Bambusa sp. 1 (bayog) 2 ha
Gigantochloa levis 2 ha
Bambusa blumeana 2 ha
Bambusa vulgaris 2 ha
Dunarao, Capiz
Bambusa sp. 1 (bayog) 2 ha
Gigantochloa levis 2 ha
Bambusa blumeana 2 ha
Bambusa vulgaris 2 ha
Bambusa sp. 1 (bayog) 2 ha
Minglanilla, Cebu
Dendrocalamus asper 2 ha
Gigantochloa levis 2 ha
Schizostachyum lumampao 2 ha
Bambusa blumeana 2 ha
Bambusa vulgaris 2 ha
Bambusa sp. 1 (bayog) 2 ha
Malaybalay, Bukidnon
Dendrocalamus asper 2 ha
Gigantochloa levis 2 ha
Schizostachyum lumampao 2 ha
Bambusa blumeana 1 ha
Bambusa sp. 2 (laak) 2 ha
Bambusa vulgaris 2 ha
Bislig, Surigao del Sur
Gigantochloa atter 2 ha
Gigantochloa levis 2 ha
Schizostachyum lumampao 2 ha

Table 4. Location area covered and number of species planted in different bambuseta

Location Area covered (ha) Number of species planted


Philippine Bambusetum Loakan, Baguio City 4.4 62
Los Baños Bambusetum Los Baños, Laguna 2.2 34
Davao Bambusetum Nabunturan, Davao del Norte 2 33
Bukidnon Bambusetum Malaybalay, Bukidnon 10 31
ERDB Bambusetum Los Baños, Laguna 20

Bamboo propagation

Knowledge on different methods of propagation is vital to determine the appropriate method for
each particular species and their growth condition. Bamboos can be propagated either by
seeds, culm cuttings, branch cuttings or marcotting, offset or rhizome cutting and tissue culture.

Propagation by seed

This method is seldom used because of the rare and irregular flowering of most bamboo
species. Besides, most bamboos produce infertile seeds or they seldom develop seeds.
Moreover, most bamboos generally die soon after flowering (Table 5). In 1990, Sinohin
conducted a study on the “Phenology of some bamboos in the Philippines” and recorded
phenological details of flowering and fruiting of 7 bamboo species namely: Bambusa blumeana,
Bambusa sp., Schizostachyum lumampao, Dendrocalamus latiflora, Dendrocalamus asper,
Gigantochloa levis and Gigantochloa atter, growing in different parts of the country
(Table 6). Results showed that in all species, formation of flower buds started from October to
November and then the flowers bloomed continuously throughout the year. Preliminary surveys
and observations also showed that among the flowering bamboo species, onlyGigantochloa
levis and Schizostachyum lumampao produced viable seeds. Approximately 5 g of seeds of G.
levis were collected and germinated, 50% germination was obtained after 3 days. Several
germinants were also observed on the spike. Wildlings were also observed. Likewise, about 10
g seeds of S. lumampao were collected in Naguilian Road in Tuba, Benguet. Eighty percent
germination was obtained in 2-8 days. Several germinants were also observed on the spike and
on the ground.

Table 5. Flowering bamboo species

Scientific Name Place collected Date Collected


Gigantochloa levis Laguna; Batangas; Quezon; Iloilo; Davao 1989; 1990
Dendrocalamus asper Samar; Leyte; Bukidnon 1990; 1994
Dendrocalamus latiflorus Baguio; Davao 1990
Schizostachyum lumampao La Union; Laguna; Abra; Ilocos Norte 1988; 1989;
1990
Schizostachyum lima Laguna 1993
Schizostachyum brachycladum Laguna; Batangas 1990
Schizostachyum (green Nueva Viscaya, Davao 1990
variety)
Bambusa blumeana Laguna; Batangas; Bulacan 1990
Bambusa sp. (bayog) Nueva Viscaya; Baguio 1990
Bambusa atra Davao 1983
Bambusa vulgaris Legaspi (Albay); Samar 1991; 1994
Gigantochloa atter Leyte 1990
Schizostachyum luzonicum Zambales 1995
Schizostachyum fenixii Abra 1995
Pseudostachyum Nueva Viscaya 1989
polymorphum
Dinochloa species (4) Mt. Sto. Tomas; Benguet; Batangas; Pampanga; 1994
Rizal
Bambusa vulgaris var. striata Quezon City 1995
Thyrsostachys siamensis Baguio City 1995

Table 6. Bamboo species that produced seeds

Scientific Name Place collected Date collected


1. Schizostachyum lumampao La Union; Benguet April 1989
2. Schizostachyum brachycladum Laguna; Batangas May 1990
3. Gigantochloa levis Laguna March 1990
4. Dendrocalamus asper Samar May 1994
5. Dendrocalamus latiflorus Baguio March 1990
6. Dinochloa species Rizal; Benguet; Pampanga Feb. 1989
7. Pseudostachyum polymorphum Nueva Viscaya Feb. 1989

Propagation by tissue culture

In 1986, the Institute of Plant Breeding obtained a grant from the International Development
Research Centre (IDRC) to work on bamboo tissue culture. In 1988, Zamora et al. reported the
results of their study (Zamora et al. 1992). Results showed that the media composition,
sterilization, and contamination were the main problems encountered. The decontamination
procedure for shoots of Dendrocalamus latiflorus was unsuitable for Bambusa blumeana and
other species. Callus establishment from ground corms of Bambusa vulgaris,
Bambusa sp.,Dendrocalamus asper, Gigantochloa levis and Shizostachyum lumampao was
observed. Browning was prominent in these species and D. latiflorus. In 1992, Zamora et
al. published results of their study entitled “Plant selection, potting mixes and field planting of
tissue culture derived plants of Schizostachyum lumampao and Dendrocalamus
strictus”. Results showed that higher percentages of survival were obtained with acclimatized
plantlets at 2 to 3 leaf stage, timing of potting during warmer months; use of sand; coir dust and
soil; sand and coir dust, compost and soil; soil from creekside and sand. Growth of plantlets was
favored in rich mixtures containing compost. Rhizomes developed within 3 months in nursery.
Potting mixtures were recommended for one - step and two - step potting protocols. Tissue
culture derived plants of Dendrocalamus strictus planted in the field after 4, 6 and 8 months of
nursery care showed that all plants survived. Planting at the onset of the rainy season was
beneficial and growth was fastest in older plants. Tissue culture derived plants
ofSchizostachyum lumampao likewise survived and grew well.

Vegetative propagation

Over the years many new vegetative propagation techniques have been developed, tested and
perfected. The vegetative parts used for propagation were: rhizome or offset, culm, and branch
cuttings. The rhizome or offset method of propagating bamboo is applicable to species with
loose clumps and they are difficult to raise by culm cuttings such as anos (Schizostachyum
lima) and buho (Schizostachyum lumampao). The offset can be collected during the rainy
season and if the planting site is near the source, the offset can be planted immediately in the
field. However, it is better to raise them first in plastic bags in the nursery before transplanting to
ensure better growth and survival in the field (Malab et al. 1995).

Among the vegetative parts, the one node culm cutting method is at present the most widely
used because it is the most economical and easiest to handle. This method is recommended for
raising planting stocks of the genera Bambusa, Dendrocalamus and Gigantochloa. The cutting
should come from healthy one to two-year-old culms. Very young culms rot easily, whereas,
older ones withstand transference.

Manipula et al. (1990) conducted a study on the survival and growth of culm cuttings and whole
culms of kayali (Gigantochloa atter) in relation to age and culm portion. The results showed that
6-month-old culm had the highest percent bud node sprouts survival at middle portion (43.33%)
but not significantly different from the basal portion of the culm; the average number and height
of shoots at the basal portion were significantly higher than at the top portion but not very
different from the middle portion. The average number of leaves at the basal portion (10.10) was
different from the middle and top portion; many differences were observed on the average
number of roots and length at 3 portions of the culm used. The average height of shoots of 6-
month-old culm was more (6.89 cm) than 1-year-old culm (1.58 cm).

Propagation through branch cuttings is one of the most practical methods and easy to handle.
Thick walled species with stout branches like those of Bambusa and Dendrocalamusspecies
grew much better. Generally the basal and middle portion of the bamboo pole are good sources
of branch cuttings (Malab et al. 1995).

A modified method is branch-marcot cutting. Although this method is similar to culm cutting,
rooting is induced first, the branch is cut into one-node pieces after the roots become apparent.
The growth of the marcot plants can be enhanced by raising the plants in plastic bags using the
same technique as in culm cutting (Malab et al. 1995).

In 1989, Alfonso developed a new and practical method of propagating Bambusa blumeana by
branch marcottage. He did this by attaching transparent plastic bags filled with wet sphagnum
moss at the basal portion of branches attached to culms during the monsoon months. After two
weeks, roots were visible through the plastic film. They could be separated and planted.

Cariño (1990) marcotted Bambusa vulgaris using compost, garden soil, manalo roots combined
with polyacrylamide. Data on number of days for root emergence, length of roots, their color
were observed and recorded. Results showed that compost + P4 helped earliest root emergence
and longest root length, while manalo roots + P4 produced most number of roots. Using branch
cutting was advantageous because branches were plentiful.

Decipulo (1997, personal communication) used branch cuttings in the propagation


of Dendrocalamus asper in Malaybalay, Bukidnon. The cuttings were planted directly in the
plastic bag, and cut branches from the 2-4 year old culms of D. asper survived well.

Ramoran et al. (1993) studied the rapid production of planting stocks from newly established
bamboo plantation of commercially important species viz giant bamboo (Dendrocalamus
asper), bayog (Bambusa sp. 1) and kawayan tinik (Bambusa blumeana). The planting stocks
were tested in nursery plots. Survival and height of sprouts were analyzed and recorded for
each species. Results showed that all treatments were favourable promoting survival and height
of sprouts of D. asper. The vegetative parts particularly the level of rhizome offset, gave highest
percentage of survival with a mean value of 46.66. The response of interaction between the 3 to
4-year-old clump and rhizome offsets, gave the highest mean survival value of 56.67 percent.
No significant variation was found among the treatments used on the survival of Bambusa sp. 1.

Plantation management and harvesting technique

Large-scale plantations should be planned, taking into consideration the prevalent climatic
conditions and making sure that water source is easily accessible for irrigation purposes. For
areas with a marked dry season, the selection of drought-tolerant bamboos like Bambusa sp.
1, Gigantochloa levis or Bambusa blumeana would be acceptable. For areas with high and
regular rainfall or a very short dry season, Schizostachyum lumampao, Dendrocalamus asper,
Gigantochloa atter and Bambusa sp. 2 are more suitable.

Pastor (1992) reported that a nursery is vital for establishing a bamboo plantation. In 1986, he
directly planted cutting's of Bambusa blumeana and out of the 4000 cuttings planted, only 1000
survived and the experiment was repeated in 1987. A nursery was established in 1988 and
survival rate of plants was 60%. Besides improved survival rate, they were able to reduce input
cost.

The pilot plantation in Magalang, Pampanga, was established in 1989 using nursery-raised
cuttings. Grasses obtained from strip brushing were used to maintain moisture in the bamboo
clump. Three hundred gm of complete fertilizer was applied annually for three consecutive
years, after planting. Gonzales and Umali (1995) reported that direct planting of bamboo in a
large-scale plantation was not feasible and practical. Bamboo planting stocks should be potted
in the nursery for about six to eight months before outplanting.

The main objective of managing bamboo plantations was to maximize yield through sustained
clump productivity (Virtucio 1996). This was attainable through the application of appropriate
silvicultural and harvesting techniques for specific bamboo species. Several factors must be
considered to attain such objectives and these include: nature of bamboo stands; site conditions
related to the species; specific end use or utilization properties; and regenerative capacity of the
given species.

Harvesting is one of the most important activities in a bamboo plantation not only because it
leads to the production of culms than be used or sold but also, it can improve production both
quantity and quality. A preliminary study conducted on B. blumeana indicated that removal of
spines and cutting of culms (close to the ground) increased shoot production, reduced shoot
mortality and farming of deformed culms. Virtucio and Tomboc (1990) studied the effect of 3
levels of thinning, 3 cutting age groups and 2 felling cycles on culm yield over a period of 10
years in natural stands of Schizostachyum lumampao, details were as follows: thinning (heavy,
moderate and light), cutting age (3 years and above, 4 years and above and 5 years and
above); and felling cycle (every year or every 2 years). The results indicated that moderate
thinning, cutting once in 3 years and above and felling cycle of 2 years was suitable for
managing Schizostachyum lumampao natural stands and to obtain optimum yield.

Virtucio et al. (1992) studied the effect of 3 levels of thinning, 3 cutting age groups and 2 felling
cycles on the culm yield of the natural stands of Bambusa blumeana Schultz. The levels of the 3
factors studied were: thinning (heavy, moderate and light); culm cutting age (3 years old and
above, 4 years old and above and, 5 years old and above); felling cycle (every year and every 2
years). The results showed that the application of light thinning; cutting of culms 4 years old and
above; and a felling cycle of 2 years were the optimum conditions for managing Bambusa
blumeana natural stands.

Utilization

Bamboo is one of the natural resources of the tropics, and because of its wide distribution,
availability, rapid growth, easy handling and desirable properties, it has been well used in the
daily life of the local community for a wide range of purposes. With the alarming shrinkage of
tropical forests and the application of restrictions on timber harvesting in consideration of
environmental concerns, research on the substitution of timber with bamboo in some areas of
utilization was intensified. In recent years, bamboos have been used in the highly competitive
world market in the form of pulp for paper, parquet, plywood and furniture industries.

Bamboo has some disadvantages like susceptibility to insect and fungal attack, small diameter,
thin-walled and hollow condition. Improvement can be made by further understanding of the
structure, physical, mechanical, chemical, and technological properties of bamboo. Due to many
advancements a number of new bamboo-based products with special properties were
developed replacing timber as the raw material. Most of the new products from thin-walled
bamboos are in the form of composites and reconstituted panel products. These products
include woven bamboo mat board, corrugated board, bamboo slivers, laminated board, bamboo
strips, plyboard, bamboo-based fiberboards, bamboo-based cement-bonded particleboard, and
resin-bonded, bamboo-based particleboard (Bello and Espiloy 1995).

Research in progress

Much progress has been made in bamboo research, through the DENR-UNDP-FAO Bamboo R
& D Project, which initiated research and establishment of pilot plantations and bambuseta.
Much more needs to be done. Different propagation methods are being improved, including the
use of branch cuttings for propagation of some bamboo species. Different management and
harvesting techniques are being conducted within the plantations established through the
UNDP-FAO Bamboo R & D Project. The properties of different bamboo species are being
studied in search of other lesser-known species which can be used in addition to the presently
used commercial species. Likewise, this is being done to increase resources to develop new
products.

Initially, it is important to conduct a nationwide survey to determine the existing bamboo


resources in the country. Through this survey, the actual number of bamboo species and their
quantity can be determined. Likewise, lesser known species with greater potential could be
found. The identity of each bamboo species should be determined and bamboo species on
which the local people depend should be prioritized. The rare and endangered bamboo species
should be identified, conserved, protected from over-exploitation. More plantations should be
established in different parts of the country. Proper management of sustainable resources in
natural stands and plantations should be developed. Properties of different bamboo species
should be studied to develop new products.

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