International Bamboo and Rattan Organization

International Bamboo and Rattan Organization

BARC 2022 Parallel Sessions Report: Assessment of Bamboo Resources and Ecosystems Services

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BARC 2022 Parallel Sessions Report: Assessment of Bamboo Resources and Ecosystems Services

Tefera Belay, Program Development Officer of INBAR, moderated the session.

New solutions in forest assessment technology can help the Global South more accurately track bamboo resources and refine land-use policies, but without capacity building and developmental support such measures will prove inadequate.

Organized as part of the proceedings of the Second Bamboo and Rattan Congress (BARC 2022), Session 1.2 entitled “Assessment of Bamboo Resources and Ecosystem Services” convened on 8 November 2022. The session explored advances and prospects for the assessment of bamboo resources and related ecosystem services. It showcased available tools, methodologies and capacity building opportunities to strengthen the ability to assess bamboo resources and related values, including carbon sequestration. The session featured two related components: The assessment of bamboo resources and the evaluation of ecosystem services obtained from bamboo stands. The session also included a keynote speech, which explored the state of knowledge in bamboo resource assessment, and revealed the areas in need of further investigation and development support, before finally being followed by five presentations.

Senior experts from the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nation (FAO), a researcher from the International Center for Bamboo and Rattan (ICBR), a senior consultant from Viet Nam, an ecosystem expert from UNEP and the director of the South Asia Bamboo Foundation were in attendance at the session. There was productive dialogue between participants, sharing their experiences in different areas of bamboo resource assessment.

Marco Piazza, Forestry Officer of FAO, spoke on some of the challenges in using new assessment technologies in developing countries.

Mr. Marco Piazza is a forestry officer for FAO’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. He has rich experience in the field of national forest resource assessment, which includes the assessment of bamboo. His presentation provided the historical context of resource assessment and recent advances. He also showed how forest resource assessment has significantly improved due to important advances in remote-sensing technologies. He also highlighted challenges, especially for bamboo resource assessment in developing countries. Despite recent advances, he argued that existing technologies are not applied in many countries due to capacity and resource limitations. Therefore, greater support is needed to help developing countries precisely assess the extent of their bamboo resources and monitor related dynamics in order to fully capitalize on the potential of bamboo resources.

Qing Xu, Associate Professor of ICBR, used the case study in Fujian Province, China to discuss the role of bamboo in contributing to carbon neutrality.

Dr. Qing Xu is an associate professor at the International Centre for Bamboo and Rattan (ICBR). Her specialization is forest remote sensing, with a focus on bamboo forest ecosystems. She is currently studying the spatial and temporal trends of bamboo forests and their roles in achieving China’s carbon neutrality goals using a toolkit of statistical approaches and remote-sensing data, including airborne LiDAR and optical satellite images. Her presentation highlighted the potential role, applicability and scalability of technology using research findings from Fujian Province, China. Through the application of this method and data from field surveys and national forest inventories, she predicted the total area of bamboo resources in the area and the potential for carbon sequestration, with a low probability for prediction uncertainty and bias given her large sample size.

Viet Anh Hoang, Lead Consultant of Green Field Consulting Ltd., shared experiences with the mobile mapping assessment app used in INBAR’s Member States.

Dr. Viet Anh Hoang is a geoscience specialist with a focus on forest ecology and natural resource assessment. He has worked in Viet Nam and southeast Asian countries on projects including large-scale GIS-based IT system development as well as mobile bamboo mapping for resource monitoring and the carbon accounting of bamboo. His presentation covered the design and application of a mobile and web-based bamboo monitoring system used by INBAR Member States. He outlined the significance, applicability and field-level challenges, especially when capacity constraints are an issue.

Remi d’Annunzio, Forestry Officer of FAO, discussed the promise of free and open-source programs for forest resource mapping and monitoring.

Dr. Remi d’Annunzio is an FAO forestry officer, coordinating the REDD+ and National Forest Monitoring work for the Africa region. He provides technical support to FAO capacity building programs to improve forest and land-use data analysis and reporting as well as enhance understanding and actions needed to address drivers of deforestation and forest degradation. He is actively supporting the development of free and open-source solutions for Earth observation and monitoring, contributing to modules within the OpenForis initiative and SEPAL platform. He shared his extensive experience regarding the applications of SEPAL and showed how it can help countries conduct land classification, including bamboo resource assessment.

Shyam Paudel, Chief Technical Advisor, Ecosystem Based Adaptation of UNEP/GCF, gave a general overview of methodologies for evaluating ecosystem services.

Dr. Shyam Paudel is an experienced forest ecosystem management and climate change specialist with extensive international experience in bamboo resource management, REDD+, community forestry, ecosystem-based adaptation and disaster risk management. In his presentation, he reviewed a range of methodologies for the evaluation of ecosystem services, with a specific focus on bamboo ecosystem services related to carbon, conservation and other related services. He also highlighted that GIS applications are being used for ES evaluation in several recent works for estimating changes in bamboo ecosystem services at regional levels. He further argued that these applications will increase in the coming years. He advised that improved evaluation methods are needed to refine estimates of carbon and other ecosystem services offered by bamboo.

Kamesh Salam, Executive Director of South Asia Bamboo Foundation, advocated for increased bamboo use for the restoration of degraded mining lands.

Mr. Kamesh Salam is founder and executive director of South Asia Bamboo Foundation and former president of the World Bamboo Organization. He shared his experience on the role of bamboo in achieving degradation neutrality across mining land. He explained that mining is a major reducer of ecosystem services and that bamboo can help in cases of mining-related land degradation by reclaiming the various ecosystem services associated with bamboo. He recommended to increase impact investments to strengthen resilience of communities affected by land degradation.

Summary and recommendations

The vigorous discussion between participants at the session highlights the strong need to further develop and apply digital support for bamboo resource assessment, carbon accounting and to integrate interdisciplinary approaches for the holistic assessment of ecosystem services associated with bamboo. Moreover, assessments must capitalize on recent technological developments as well as traditional systems to ensure the formulation of tangible and sustainable policies to promote and enhance bamboo utilization.  The session also underlined the need for establishing the necessary technological infrastructure for big data management and capacity building for many of the bamboo-growing countries of the Global South.