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Bamboos belonging to the grass family are unique plants consisting of 75 genera and over 1,000
species and play an important role in the development of societies. Bamboo is undoubtedly the most
economically important NTFP of ancient and increasing importance for humans, and known as “the
wood of the poor” in India, “the friend of the people” in China and “the brother” in Vietnam. In Lao PDR
about 93 species in 8 genera of bamboo are found all over the country and in the different forest types.
The following species are described here in more detail.
    1. Bambusa arundianaria (mai phai pa, w,h.zjxjk mai sang phai, §¾¤Ä²)
    2.    Bambusa blumeana (mai phai ban, w,h.zj[kho)
    3.    Bambusa flexuosa (phai kasha, Ä°È¡½§½)
    4.    Bambusa nana (mai sang phai, w,hlkh'.r)
    5.    Bambusa tulda (phai; bong, Ä°È®ö¤)
    6.    Cephalostachyum pergracile (mai khao lam)
    7.    Cephalostachyum virgatum (mai hia, w,hgIhp) or Schizostachyum blumei?
    8.    Dendrocalamus (brandisii) hamiltonii (mai hok, Ĵɹö¡)
    9.    Dendrocalamus (mai boh, Ä´É®Ò)
    10. Dendrocalamus latifolius (mai phung wan, w,hr5's;ko)
    11. Dendrocalamus longifimbriatus lonoifimbriatus (mai phaang, Ĵɳ¾¤, )
    12.   Gigantochloa albociliata Munro & Kurz or Oxytenanthera albociliata (mai lai, w,hw]j)
    13.   Gigantochloa apus (mai sanot)
    14.   Indosasa sinica (mai khom, |+0q,,)
    15.   Neuhouzea mekkhongensis (mai kasen, w,hdtclo).
    16.   Oxytenanthera parviflora (mai soth, w,h-vf)


Use: From this multipurpose material, anything can be made. It is tensile strong compared to steel, and
the large varieties have a density comparable to hardwoods. It has long straight fibres, is easy to work
with, flexible and comes in various sizes. In Laos canes are used for construction and handicrafts, but
can also be processed into farm implements, household utensils, fences, chopsticks, skewers, flower
sticks, stakes and fishing gear. It is also used to reinforce concrete for driveways. Abroad it is also used
for parquet and floor laminating.
Edible bamboo shoots (no mai) are found all over in many species, year-round and often the most
important food from the forest.

Active ingredients: Bamboo shoots are high in fibre and carbohydrate, rich in vegetable protein.
Vitamins occur in minimal amounts, often lost in

Harvesting: Culms mature after 3 years and can
be harvested. After 5 years culms begin to die.
Shoots of the bamboo are cut when they have
grown about 15 cm above the ground.

Yield, densities: Bamboo produces 4-5 times
more biomass than trees. On a 3 year cycle, a
plantation can yield 3-4 tons of bamboo per ha at
first cut, 5-6 tons at the second cut and 8 tons
from the 3 cut. Over the entire life of a plantation
70-74 tons per ha can be expected. Bamboo
shoots yield ca. 31 kg/ha, and ca. 238 kg bamboo shoots can be collected per year per family.

Access rules: Access is open, with some species domesticated but often on a small scale.


Conservation status:
Processing: The wall mats are made of untreated split
bamboo poles, roughly woven together. The heavy and
unpolished mats have an average lifetime of 10 years.
Bamboo shoots need to be peeled are further
processed by boiling (nyod som) or steaming (nyod at),
or drying (nyod heng) for own consumption. These
processes allow the bamboo shoots to be preserved for
up to 1 year. However, when canned they need to be
boiled first.

Quality criteria: Some bamboo shoots are bitterer and
less preferred.

Marketing: Demand for bamboo canes like mai phaang
(Dendrocalamus longifimbriatus) and mai hia
(Cephalostachyum virgatum or Schizostachyum blumei) is large, mainly from Vientiane and freights are
loaded on trucks in the dry season or made into rafts and floated over the Mekong River in the rainy
season. From 1 cane of 25 m 3 lengths are processed of 7 m, earning US$0.05-0.06/7 m (US$0.1/kg),
and per truck load 500 stems are collected. One person is able to cut up to 100 stems per day. Orders
depend on traders coming from Vientiane, and are made to a villager who then may involve other
villagers to help to meet the order. Demand of bamboo canes depend on the ability of traders to get a
quota from the government. Villagers told that there is little danger for the bamboo resource to be
depleted as orders are irregular and regeneration sufficient, either by shoots or by seed. For own
consumption ca. 100 canes per household per year are used for building material. One family may
produces bamboo mats or wall panels during the dry season for US$0.4 kip per piece, which are resold
in Vientiane for US$1.
In Asia and the Pacific the total annual harvests of canes is estimated at 20 million tonnes. Total world
trade in bamboo was about US$23.4 million in 1988, and US$44.9 million in 1992. China accounted for
65.7% of the exports in 1992, followed by Thailand (10.1%). In 1992, France, Germany and the
Netherlands were the major markets for bamboo, collectively accounting for 53% of the world's total
Bamboo shoots represent an expanding and fashionable export market, valued annually at over US$
20 million from Taiwan alone. Shoot production varies by species and locality. In China, Phyllostachys
pubescens shoots comprise 18-30% of the total annual production of about 1 million tonnes. Nearly
100 species of bamboo in China produce edible shoots. In Thailand, 8-15% of the total shoot
production comes from plantations of Dendrocalamus asper. Thailand exported 31,730 tonnes of
canned bamboo shoots in 1989, valued at $US18.4 million. The bulk of the exports went to the USA
and Japan. Japan is the main market for bamboo shoots in Asia.
Shoots sell for US$0.15-0.5/kg, depending on the season and the value of 2 kg of bamboo shoots is
roughly equal to 1 kg of rice.

Market prospects: On the internet processed in a single herb extract, sold for US$7-13 per 100 gram
in China.

Propagation: Vegetative reproduction by rhizomes is the common method used to acquire plants.
Layering and propagation through cuttings, marcotting, and culm cutting are also practiced. Most
bamboo plantation in Lao focus on few species of about 50 species present. Propagation is possible by
seed, however, seed collection is almost never done.

Description: The culm, the above ground stem, is woody and is sometimes solid but most species are
hollow. The length and thickness of the culm varies greatly between species. Some species can get as
tall as 40 m and be more than a 30 cm in diameter, growing at nearly 5 cm per hour.

Distribution & Ecology: Large areas of former semi-evergreen forest habitat now support what has
been termed bamboo forest, ca. 6,000 km of bamboo forest in Lao PDR. Species of Dendrocalamus,
Cephalostachyum and Oxytenanthera are the dominant bamboos. The floristic composition of
ecological structure of secondary forest communities include Bambusa arundinacea and B. tulda, which
frequently form impenetrable thickets. Bamboo can grow virtually everywhere. In bamboo clumps,
rhizomes grow underground and produce new culms as annual shoots. In addition to asexual
reproduction through rhizomes, bamboos also flower and produce seed. Some species flower every
year, some every 15 or 30 years. When bamboos flower, all of the plants of a particular stand flower
simultaneously, from the small new shoots to the tall culms. The whole stand then dies, leaving behind
a bed of seeds and carpets of wild seedlings which can be collected by digging them up and replant
them. Because of its fast growth, easy propagation, soil binding properties, early maturing, bamboo is
ideal for afforestation, soil conservation and social forestry programs.
References: NTFPCP00, BKF, TPN, Rundell, 1999, Iqbal, 1995, FEOC00, NTFPGR04, UNTFP97,
Collection No. 05/06, 23 October 2004, Oulathong and all.

Bamboo shoots are available almost year-round as different species appear at different times.

        Dendrocalamus asper planted
        Cephalostachyum virgatum (mai hia, w,hgIhp) canes 1,000/kg; commonly sold ; waxy-
         tomentose like layer on its stem ; commonly used for making walls and floor mats of bamboo
         houses, as well as for handicrafts such as basketry, fish traps food containers ; slender
         bamboos ; very thin walls
        Neuhouzea mekkhongensis (mai kasen, w,hdtclo) commonly used bamboo species for canes
        Dendrocalamus sp. (mai ko) is a wild thick walled species used for construction.
        Gigantochloa albociliata Munro & Kurz or Oxytenanthera albociliata (mai lai, w,hw]j) similar to
         mai sod, mainly used for basketry ; produces one of the most preferred bamboo shoots in
         Laos. It is a smaller stemmed bamboo species with slender shoots (20-100 cm). One “muh” or
         12 kg sells for US$1.2 (peeled), when cooked 12 kg for US$0.8. (correct?); growing on
         plateaux consisting of denitrified sandy soil, with large sandstone boulders surfacing.
        Bambusa blumeana (mai phai ban, w,h.zj[kho) is thick walled, commonly used for
         construction and handicrafts ; planted as a living fence
        Bambusa arundianaria (mai phai pa, w,h.zjxjk) Common bamboo species eaten for their
        Dendrocalamus latifolius (mai phung wan, w,hr5's;ko), biggest bamboo with a wide diameter,
         also planted and used for construction. This species has thick walled stems and is also used
         to produce chopsticks. One culm of this bamboo measures 30 meters and can produce 90
         bundles of chopsticks. One bundle consists of 10 pairs of chopsticks.
        Bambusa nana (mai sang phai, w,hlkh'.r); commonly sold ; planted by villagers in large
         numbers, as a living fence ; Common production of edible bamboo shoots
        Oxytenanthera parviflora (mai soth, w,h-vf) a slender bamboo is commonly used to produce
         mats and floor mats of bamboo houses, as well as for handicrafts such as basketry, fish traps
         food containers; commonly sold ; thicker walls

Other: mai leh w,hc]h ; mai ko       w,h3dt ; Bambusa sp.; mai phai wan, Melocalamus compactiflorus
Benth. & Hook. f. (phai he), phai boh (phai tib), Bambusa vulgaris Schrad. (mai sang kham); Mai
phaang is a tall bamboo with large canes, with a bundle of white hairs (1 cm) in the leaflet axils.
Food: shoots
Fibre: stem

Bamboo                              Phai bong

Bambusa tulda Roxb.
Other names: Local names: w,h[q' mai bong. Thai: bong dam, bong, phai pa, phai bong, phai
hang chang, wa seu, wa si, wa khue, wa cho wa. Vietnamese: English: Trade
Remark: if relevant

Use: Bamboo shoots are edible, and used in various ways to prepare with different foods. Canes are
also used.

Active ingredients:

Harvesting: Stems are collected year round, shoots in the rainy season between May-September.

Yield, densities:

Access rules:


Conservation status: Common.

Processing: Bamboo shoots can be kept for 10 days.

Quality criteria:

Marketing: Mostly used and sold locally. Some export of dried bamboo shoots. Information is lacking
and local prices seem to differ per locality. Bamboo shoots range from 500-1,250 kip/kg, or 278 kip/m
for canes (1999).

Market prospects:

Propagation: Planted as a living fence for canes

Description: Densely tufted, 10-15 together, sympodial. Culms up to 5-20 m tall, 3-30 cm in diameter,
internodes at about 30-50 cm, with tick walls, pale green, covered with white wax when young.
Branches several at each node, from lower nodes. Spikelets green. Culms heats and leaves olive-
greenish. Flowering culms are leafless. Glumes yellowish to green or purplish, anthers dull reddish or
greyish….cannot read it. Fruits are green…… Leaves are 21-30 cm by 2-3.5                        cm.

Distribution & Ecology: Found commonly in Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar. Mixed with
other bamboos, Helminthostachys zeylanica (pak tin houng) and Amorphophallus sp. (kabouk), in
disturbed forest. Bamboos only flower and fruit once in their lives. Mai hia after 50 years, mai sod 40
years, mai bong wan nyai 70 years. On granite bedrock. (all types?)
Fibre: stem
Food: shoot

Local name: Mai Sanot
Sc. Name: Gigantochloa apus Schytle & Kurz
Family: Poaceae/Graminea,
Subfamily: Bambusoideae
Other names:

Use: the wall and fiber of this bamboo species are rigide not suitable to split for handicraft but the cane
is very suitable for frame construction (different uses in house construction) and fencing. Shoot is
edible and marketable of 1,500 –2000 kip/kg.

Active ingredients:

Harvesting: Both culms and shoots are harvested. Harvesting time is all year round for culms aged 3
years and older. Shoots are harvested mostly in the middle of raining season (August-September).

Yield, density:

Access rules: Open access in the natural resources.

Sustainability: Culm is quite heavy harvested but however for this species, collectors used to choose
the old Culm. Shoots is harvested moderately.

Conservation status: Mai sanot has it original habitat in upland/sloping land, it is preferred to well
manage for erosion prevention.

Processing: none.

Quality criteria: Old culm is very hard/strong for house frame.

Marketing: Shoot for local consumption and near local markets.

Market prospects: none.

Propagation: Very sure propagation by stump and seed. It is reported by local people that this species
has a gregarious flowering in the period of 30 years. During IDRC project, in 1992-93, in
Phoukhaokhouy, mai Sanot was in flowering time. So if villagers are right, this species will give flower in
the year 2022-2023.

Description: Clustering quite dense, not spiny, the average of the cluster large is about 1.5 m and the
average high is 9 m. The cane has : D = 6 cm, wall thick: T: 2,5 cm, internod: L : 50 cm. First
branch from the ground: 3 m. Branch in cluster of 3 main branches surrounding by small branches.
Culm sheet: 24x26 cm, pale to white color, partly hairy on the base. Tip culm sheet pendulous, 4x6 cm,
partly hairy. Auricles very short.
Leaf: Average number 14, average leaflet sizes 1,2 x 15,5 cm.
Shoot: D: 7 cm, dark red color, cover of hair on the top part of the sheet. Bitter test.

Distribution & Ecology: Found in NBCA, Phoukhaokhouai. A long the slope of this mountain in the
elevation of about 760 m.
Dendrocalamus hamiltonii Nees & Arn. ex Munro                                               Mai Hok

Family: Poaceae/Graminea,
Subfamily: Bambusoideae
Synonym: Bambusa monogynia Griff.
Other names: mai hok neaw, ko hoe. Thai: phai hok, mai hok, phai nual yai, mai nuan yai, phai nuan
yai, waa klu. Vietnamese: tre da, may hoc, manh tong nua. English: Tama bamboo, Hamilton
dendrocalamus, Tufted bamboo

Use: One year (or less) old canes are used for tying material when split. Canes of 2 years old and more
are used to make handicrafts, house frames, hand tools and furniture. The lower part of the culm, 4-5
internodes, is preferred for making ornamental articles. The shoots are edible but a little bitter.

Active ingredients:

Harvesting: Both culms and shoots are harvested. Harvesting time is all year round for culms aged 3
years and older. Shoots are harvested mostly in the middle of raining season (July-August).

Yield, density: One shoot may weigh up to 1-5 kg, on average 2 kg.

Access rules: Well protected by village rules, and outsiders can
not harvest the shoots and culms without permission of village.
Shoots and culms outside village forests boundaries or in state
forests are for local consumption.

Sustainability: Canes and shoots used to be harvested heavily,
and in some areas local people believe that the species is
getting rare and is often available far from villages.

Conservation status: Not clear, but areas overseen by villages
is more or less protected. However customary user rights are
often also failing.

Processing: Shoots can be preserved by drying, salting, cooking
and canning. Bamboos for tying are split into long thin sections.

Quality criteria: Culms of 3 years and older are very hard/strong for house frames.

Marketing: The large shoots are for local consumption and available on local markets at US$0.2-
0.3/kg. Estimated was that 1 household collects about 4 kg of shoots per week, which per year would
be worth about US$10, however most is used for own consumption. Canes can be per 100 for US$7.

Market prospects: Shoots maybe possible to can in factories, for export.

Propagation: Easy propagation by culms and branch cuttings and seed. Villagers have much
experience in growing mai hok in their home gardens, but also planted in dry evergreen forest near
villages. Natural regeneration of seedlings occurs abundantly after which villagers sometimes collect
them to plant closer to home. Bamboo seedlings are planted under existing forest cover, but
undergrowth is cleared to stimulate growth. Sometimes taller trees are ringed too. Planting is 2x2 or 3x3
m, but after a few years when some of the seedlings have died spacing is more likely 6x6 m.

Description: Dense cluster of culms, branched have no spines, average size is about 2-3 m and the 13
m tall. Canes 6 cm in DBH, with a wall thickness 1.5 cm, internodes 45 cm long. First branch from the
ground at 3 m; branches in clusters of 1 main branch surrounded by 10-13 small branches. The base of
main branch is usually rooting, and suitable for propagation. Culm sheets are 34 by 42 cm, red and
black in colour, partly hairy on the top. Tips of the culm sheets are pendulous, 5 by 14 cm, partly hairy.
Auricles very short. Number of leaves 6-12, with leaflets 3.5 by 32 cm. Shoots are dark reddish,
covered in f dark reddish hair on the top part of the sheet.

Distribution & Ecology: Found in NBCA, Phoukhaokhouai, along slopes of mountains in
dry evergreen and mixed forest in upland areas of high humidity. The species requires cool
weather and naturally grows scattered, with other bamboos like mai sanood and mai hia. It is
reported by local people that this species has a gregarious flowering once per 50 years.
Food: shoots / Fibre: stem

Indosasa sinica C.D. Chou & C.S. Chao
Other names: Local names: mai khom (nohr mai khom or nohr khom); chaak chang in Kha Mu
language; or ha kha in Lao Sung. English: Bitter bamboo

Use: Shoots are eaten in local dishes and is exported in large quantities to markets in China and
Thailand. Culms are used for the production of handicrafts and in construction.

Active ingredients:

Harvesting: Both culms and shoots are harvested. Harvesting time is all year round for culms aged 3
years and older. Shoots are harvested from nodes of rhizomes 20-60 cm deep to maximize volume of
good tasting shoots. Mainly women collect the shoots.

Yields, densities: 4,500-5,000 shoots/hectare, fresh weight 800-1,000 kg/hectare. In Nam Phaeng
village in Oudomxay on average ca. 12 kg shoots/day is collected. The first 20 days of the collection
season results in 3-5 kg/day, in the next 60 days this is 5-10 kg/day in the final 2 months this rises to
10-20 kg/day. Culms of more than 3 years old count 4,480 culms or 2.5 tons/ha.

Access rules: Often open access. Nam Phaeng has organized itself through forest-land allocation
dealing with threats from outside and internal conflict resolution.

Sustainability: Heavy harvesting of shoots may reduce regrowth. Shoot growth is stimulated by cutting
of culms. Optimal harvesting regime is being tested by Nam Phaeng. Culms aged 2-3 years produce
most shoots. Also in disturbed forest soil more shoots emerge.

Conservation status:

Processing: None.

Quality criteria: Culms should be at least 3 years old for handicraft and
construction. Shoots should be young and fresh, preferable under 7 days
after harvest and preferably harvested when still underground. Taste of
underground part is bitter sweet, top and above ground more bitter.
Bitterness increases with age of shoots. Bitterness can not be overcome by
boiling, unlike other species of bamboo shoots.

Marketing: Mai khom is in steady demand in Lao PDR, Thailand and China, 200 ton/year in 2000. The
local price can fluctuate from beginning to end of one harvest season from US$0.05-0.2/kg respectively
(vice versa?, less bitter higher price or much supply so lower price?). In 1 season, 1 village can receive
cash in advance of US$30-40/day from middlemen. Farmgate price in 1997-98, was US$0.1/kg, by
2000; US$0.2/kg. In 1998-2000, the village trade group in Nam Phaeng earned per household
US$300/year, or 40% of the household cash income. The average day wage for harvesting bamboo
shoots, calculated at US$2/day if worth 10 times than that of slash-and-burning activities.

Market prospects: Main improvements could be made in harvesting management, drying, storage,
transport and canning.

Propagation: Possible by rhizome, stump, culms cuttings and branch cuttings.

Description: Nohr khom has a monopodial or single stemmed rhizome system with young reddish-
black underground shoots. Culms 7-12 m tall with white patches when older. Harvested part is 5-6 m,
stiffly erect, 4-6 cm in diameter, internodes 20-55 cm long, nodes with 2 prominent rings, wall 7-8 mm
thick. Each node has 1-3 branches, mainly on upper stems. Culm-sheaths pale green, 13-15 cm wide,
30 cm long, non-waxy, glabrous inner part, with short hairy outer part, 2 cm wide and curved 3-5 cm
long bristly ligule. Leaf 15-25 cm long, 1.5-3.5 cm wide, glabrous, apex acute with 1.5-2.5 cm long tail.
Flowering unknown. Edible shoots appear in December to April the next year in large numbers.

Distribution & Ecology: Found in the mixed forests of Northern Lao PDR, in
provinces of Xam Neua, Oudomxai, Luang Nam Tha and Xiang Khouang, but also Bolikhamxai. Often
found on hills. Also found in Kwuang Chi and Yunan provinces in China.

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