PRESS RELEASE: New report reveals the benefits of bamboo for land restoration
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
A report shows that bamboo has had positive environmental and socio-economic benefits in eight countries.
Beijing, China, 26 June 2018 (INBAR) – A new report, released today, shows the positive benefits which bamboo has had as a tool to restore degraded land in eight countries. The report, written by the Food and Agricultural Organization, the International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, assessed data from nine case studies across Colombia, Ghana, India, Nepal, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, and Anji and Chishui counties in China.
Land degradation is a pervasive problem in many countries across the world. According to the report, between 2001 and 2009, land degradation cost about USD 11 billion in Kenya, USD 18 billion in Tanzania and USD 35 billion in Ethiopia. With its long root systems, ability to grow on degraded soils and steep slopes, and extremely fast growth, bamboo can revegetate even the most degraded soils within a short period. For example, in the case study of Allahabad, India, severely degraded soil – the result of an intensive brickmaking industry – staged a remarkable recovery after planting with bamboo: within 20 years, the groundwater table had increased by 10 metres, and agricultural crops and tree species had been incorporated into a bamboo landscape. In Chishui, China, bamboo plantations had 25 per cent less water runoff than adjacent sweet potato farms. In Nepal, a similar plantation helped reduce soil erosion and flood damage, and in Ghana bamboo is being used to restore degraded mining areas.
As well as bamboo’s environmental benefits, the report highlights its economic importance to local communities. In Anji, China, the number of ‘bamboo tourists’ numbered almost 8 million in 2011, and the bamboo shoots industry reaches almost USD 2 billion a year. In Tanzania, bamboo-related enterprises have generated an estimated extra USD 200 every month per household and created jobs for almost a thousand villagers.
“As far as degraded land is concerned, bamboo is green gold”, stated Hans Friederich, Director of the International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation. “We are seeing more and more countries use bamboo for land restoration. However, there are huge gaps in the literature about what works. This is what this report is trying to address.”
About the International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation (INBAR)
INBAR is an intergovernmental organisation made up of 44 Member states for the promotion of sustainable development using bamboo and rattan. It was the first intergovernmental organisation to be based in China and remains the only one in the world dedicated to bamboo and rattan.
Almost all of INBAR’s 44 Members are developing countries with bamboo and/or rattan resources. INBAR works across its Member states to promote these plants’ use for a range of sustainable development objectives, including: poverty alleviation, climate change mitigation, land restoration, earthquake-resilient construction and low-carbon product creation.