INBAR staff have contributed to a new study published in Agroforestry Systems, a journal published by Springer Nature. The study aimed at understanding root distribution patterns in commercial bamboo plants, and in the impact of these root patterns on soil health.
17 February 2020 – Contributing to and maintaining the body of scientific research on bamboo and rattan is instrumental to achieving INBAR’s aims of promoting the use of these versatile plants for environmentally stable, pro-poor development. The results of this latest study, co-authored by INBAR Head of Global Programme Durai Jayaraman, gives key recommendations for the use of selected commercially important bamboo species in agroforestry and soil conservation. Agroforestry refers to any agriculture in which crops are grown in a way that incorprates the use of trees, including in this case bamboo.
The study, which was carried out at demonstration plots at the Agroforestry Research Centre at the Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture and Technology in Uttarakhand, India, looked at the root distribution patterns of the following bamboo species: Bambusa balcooa, Bambusa bambos, Bambusa nutans, Dendrocalamus asper, Dendrocalamus hamiltonii, and Dendrocalamus strictus. Over 12 years, the growth distribution and root distribution of these plants was monitored at the demonstration plot.
The study found differences in the speed and distribution of water and nutrient uptake among the six selected bamboo species, which allowed for the researchers to recommend that the species be used for different purposes. Root distribution was found to be mostly made up of fine roots confined to the surface layer (0-30cm below the soil surface). It is these masses of fine roots that make the plant suitable for soil conservation and improving soil health.
- Because of the shallow, widely dispersed roots, bamboo species should be spaced out more widely that in a bamboo plantation if are to be used in agroforestry. If they are planted too close together, the efficient nutrient uptake of bamboo roots could adversely impact annual crop yields.
- Bamboo, due to its fast growth and efficient root system, is very suitable for resource conservation and attaining environmental security.
- D. strictus and D. hamiltonii were found to have higher numbers of fine roots and overall root biomass, could be suitably recommended for resisting soil erosion.
- Higher hydraulic conductivity under D.hamiltonii and B. nutans indicates that these species can be recommended for enhancingthe soil moisture regime of an ecosystem.
- Higher fine roots coupled with higher water mean that D. hamiltonii and B. balcooa are better species for maintaining soil fertility status.
- B. balcooa has a compact canopy and less competition through less compact root systems. This species maybe best suited for use in agroforestry, giving the crops in queston more space to grow.
This article is a summary of a paper published in Springer Nature online on 14 November 2019. To cite this work, please use the following text:
Kaushal, R., Tewari, S., Banik, R.L. et al. Root distribution and soil properties under 12-year old sympodial bamboo plantation in Central Himalayan Tarai Region, India. Agroforest Syst (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10457-019-00459-4
From the authors:
This research was supported by National Mission on Bamboo Application, Department of Science and Technology (2005–2009), National Bamboo Mission (2010–2012), State Forest Department, Uttarakhand, India and International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation (INBAR) from 2016 to 2019. The financial help received during these periods is duly acknowledged. The authors are thankful to the Joint Director Agroforestry Research Centre, GBPUAT, Pantnagar for providing necessary facilities to conduct the work. The help rendered by Mr. Ramesh Kumar during laying of experiment and data collection is duly acknowledged. We extend our sincere thanks to the anonymous reviewers for the constructive suggestions and comments for improving the manuscript.