On this International Day for Biological Diversity, INBAR celebrates bamboo and rattan’s indispensable role in biodiverse landscapes across the world.
Bamboo and rattan are essential components of biodiverse landscapes in the regions in which they grow. Many insect and fungal species, as well as some of the world’s most iconic and endangered mammals, are dependent on these resources for their survival. Bamboos and rattans can play an important role in primate conservation for three key reasons:
- They provide a direct source of nutrition for many primates such as the Mountain Gorilla, the Bale Monkey, and the Greater Bamboo Lemur.
- They provide important shelter, dwelling and habitats for many primates across the world.
- Sustainable management and use of these renewable resources creates vital sources of income in poor smallholder communities, and helps to reduce pressure on primate habitats. Today, bamboo and rattan are already among the world’s most valuable non-timber forest products, with an estimated market value of USD60 million. Rural smallholder communities benefiting from these markets can become an integral part of conservation efforts.
However, bamboo and rattan face many problems. Overharvesting and lack of management threatens the survival of the Qiongzhuea tumidinoda and other bamboo species. Meanwhile, tropical forest loss and over-exploitation are causing a rapid decline in rattan resources, threatening almost 20 per cent of known rattan species (IUCN Red list of Threatened Plants, 1998). It is vital that bamboo and rattan resources are managed well so they can maintain their important role in biodiversity protection.
INBAR’s work on biodiversity includes:
- Mapping bamboo and rattan biodiversity.
- Involvement of bamboo in biodiverse landscapes, such as the UN Satoyama initiative.
- Raising awareness of the plight of organisms that depend on bamboo for all or part of their lives.
- Supporting primate conservation.
- Ensuring the conservation of bamboo and rattan themselves.
- Publishing literature on important topics, such as bamboo species and invasiveness. (The report concludes that “Although some bamboo species are known to be invasive,… many are not invasive and pose no threat to natural environments.”)
- The Global Assessment of Bamboo and Rattan – a unique policy-oriented assessment which aims to take stock of bamboo and rattan, in order to promote better decision-making about these resources at an international and national level.
For more information on INBAR’s important work on biodiversity, please visit this page.