Bamboo is an important non wood forest product. In India, bamboo, which is traditionally considered the Poor man wood, and labelled as Green Gold is being considered a major export item by the centre for the global market. Bamboo is perfectly suited to agro forestry as a woody grass. Bamboo has been exploited from natural stands from time immemorial. Bamboo is increasingly being cultivated like other agricultural crops, that is, in professionally managed plantations. The growth of industries utilizing bamboo requires the sustainable cultivation and management of bamboo resources. India is blessed with very rich bamboo resources. Bamboo can play an important role in raising forest cover and a major role in stabilization of the environmental problems. The annual yield in tonnes/ha depends on the environment as well as the species. It is estimated that almost 25% of the biomass in the tropics and 20% in the subtropics, come from bamboo. The cultivation of bamboo as a wood substitute helps to offset depletion of the rain forest. Its rapid growth ensures an effective reconstruction of damaged eco systems. Bamboo is one of many sustainable non wood resources that can generate income for a large forest dependent rural population and it needs to take further steps to realize its full potential. In India, the North East has the largest stock and diversity of bamboos. Though India has the largest area under bamboo, the yield per hectare is very low compared to other countries. Bamboo plantation rising should be encouraged & promoted due to their high value, productivity, uniformity of crop, choice of species linked to peoples’ need and industrial need. Bamboo forest constitutes about 13% of the total forest area of the country. About 50% of bamboo produced in India grows in North Eastern region and West Bengal. India has the second largest bamboo reserves in the world after China.
This book basically deals with bamboos in India, the bamboo plant harvesting, cultivating, silviculture and management, collection of material and preparation of cuttings treatment for root induction in cuttings,
preparation of nursery and planting nursery management transplanting, pattern of biomass allocation in growing bambusa bamboos, biochemical characteristics of plantation bamboo leaf (bambusa bambos) with reference to organic productivity, economic analysis, bamboo plantation, problems and prospects, need for bamboo plantation, consumption pattern of bamboos in India, working and finishing qualities of bamboo, bamboos for structural use, pipe water supply system and drainage, bamboo furniture
This book provides a complete detail on Bamboo plantation and its utilization. This book contains chapters like types of bamboo in India, taxonomy, cultivation, harvesting, growth management, bamboo utilization, Bamboo products and many more. This book will be very helpful to all its readers, environmentalists, agronomists, entrepreneurs, industrialists, or anyone with a special interest in bamboo cultivation.
By far the single most important
item of forest produce used by rural communities of the tropics, from
the cradle to the coffin, is the bamboo. Bamboo is a member of the
grass family (poaceae). Two important characters which make (majority
of) bamboo distinct from other grasses are: (i) Woody perennial habit
and (ii) peculiar flowering and seeding behaviour. Most woody bamboos
flower and seed at the end of very long periods of vegetative growth.
Over 75 genera and 1250 species are reported to occur in the world.
India has perhaps the world’s richest resources of bamboos, having
about 130 species occurring over an area of 10.03 million ha. This is
about 12.8 per cent of the total forest area of the country and
represent 20 per cent of India’s total production.
And yet, over exploitation
associated with growing human populations, gregarious flowering,
destruction of tropical forests and new demands on the resource for
industrial uses, especially by the pulp and paper industry, have
resulted in wide-scale-decimation of bamboo stocks; from vasts forests
of bamboo in South and Southeast Asia at the beginning of this century,
we are left with the current situation of acute scarcity. Many
countries have been forced to severely restrict and in some cases even
ban outright the harvesting and exporting of bamboos.
The report on the National
commission on Agriculture brought out some figures about the current
demand and output of the projected bamboo requirements for 1980 (4.274
million Cu M) and 2000 (7.005 million Cu M) and recommended the
measures required to bridge the increasing gap between demand and
supply. It was recognised that the availability of bamboo can only be
sustained by raising elaborate bamboo resources and also using of
existing natural bamboos judiciously and efficiently. Systematic
cultivation of bamboos and their scientific management can therefore,
ensure sustainable production.
However, we know very little
about several aspects of this fascinating plant and these are receiving
a high priority in the research activities of bamboo specialists. Thus
its biology, embryology, cytology, physiology of flowering, ecology,
silviculture and utilisation are all under detailed investigation. Even
the authentic identification of the different species of bamboos which
is basic to all other studies has to be undertaken with a sense of
Research has increased rapidly in
recent years. The growth pattern and productivity of different bamboo
species has been studied by several workers. Activities were
strengthened by the creation of a IUFRO project group on Bamboo in
1976. This was followed by an IDRC - IUFRO workshop in Singapore, 1980
a subsequent conference at the IUFRO congress in Kyoto 1981 and an
International workshop in Hangzhosuw 1985. Organised by the Chinese
Academy of Forestry and IDRC in cooperation with IUFRO. A third
international Bamboo workshop was held in Cochin India in 1988,
organised by KFRI and IDRC, the fourth was in Chiengmai. Thailand in
1991 and the fifth was in Ubudi, Bali, Indonesia in 1995. These efforts
are already bearing fruit.
The demand for bamboo is
increasing much more than their availability. In the near future, a
major shortfall in the availability of bamboo raw material for the
paper industry is expected. Due to severe deforestation and the present
limitation of bamboo propagation and improvement, it is unlikely that
the increasing demand will be fulfilled. This emphasizes the need for
enhancing bamboo production. This can be achieved by (i) increasing the
area under bamboo cultivation, (ii) selective multiplication of better
clones and (iii) use of improved varieties. Bamboo needs to be given
more importance in agro-forestry. Social forestry and wasteland
development. Rural economics in Southeast Asian countries are dependent
on biomass production and popularization of bamboo cultivation and
bamboo based industries would greatly help in rural development.
The present bamboo plantation
technique is based on experience rather than on scientific basis.
Species which have attained a crop status in agriculture have decades
of directed endeavor behind them. Bamboos have not attained the same
status due to lack of sustained investigations. A few problems of
fundamental and applied nature, which need to be tackled immediately
regarding bamboo farming. This book focuses the importance of raising
bamboo plantation, establishment and management, yield and economics,
felling cycle, fertilizer application and also discusses the problems
and prospects of plantation bamboo.
Felling shall be made as far as
possible on the side of the clump opposite to that from which the
largest number of new culms spring-up.
But on many occasions the
felling-rules prescribed were followed more in breach than in practice
by the contractors in the past. Hence, Bamboo should be extracted only
departmentally under the supervision of technically qualified foresters.
of Bamboos in the World
Bamboos are versatile group of
plants of multiple utility and usually form rich belt of vegetation in
moist deciduous, semi-evergreen, tropical, subtropical and temperate
forests. About 14 million hectares of the earth surface is covered by
bamboo forests with 80 per cent in Asia. They are fairly well
represented in all the continents except Europe. All other tropical and
subtropical regions of the world are endowed with a rich vegetation of
bamboos. The tropical belt is characteristic of a large number of
The distribution of bamboos
extends from 51 degree N Latitude in Japan to 47 degree S Latitude in
South Argentina. The altitudinal range is just above the sea level upto
4000 m. The herbaceous bamboos have never been reported from an
altitude exceeding 1500m. South America and East Asia are considered to
be the centres of diversity of bamboos. Compared to these two regions:
Africa is endowed with a lesser number of bamboo species. But
Madagascar is rich in endemic genera and species. Australia has 4
indigenous species while North America has only one. Bamboos are found
in greatest abundance and variety on the southern and South eastern
borders of Asia. There are many regions in the world which are to be
explored for new bamboo species. Further taxonomic revision may alter
the existing number of bamboo taxa. The total number of bamboo species
is represented by 75 genera and 1250 species. Ohmberger in their
compilatory account on Bamboos of the World have however, mentioned
higher number of taxa i.e., approximately 110 genera and 1010-1140
species without any exception to the congeneric elements.
Asia is rich in bamboos with
approximately 65 genera of which 14 are endemic to the region. The
number of species is around 900 spread over the range of 51 degree N to
47 degree S Latitude and 140 W to 70 E Longitude. Out of the total 900
species, about 100 species are of woody nature. The Asia-Pacific region
has representatives of all the three types of bamboos viz., monopodial,
sympodial and intermediate. The distribution of bamboos in different
Asian countries are as follows:
Bangladesh has 20 species of
bamboos under 8 genera. It occurs as an understorey in the native hill
forests of the eastern region. The most important species is Melocanna
constitutes around 75 per cent of the total bamboo crop in the region.
Different species of Bambusa are
commonly grown in the villages. The area under bamboo plantation is
over 212,468 hectares with an annual yield of 0.8 metric tonnes/hectare.
There are 26 genera and more than
300 species of bamboos in China among which 22 genera and more than 200
species have high economic value. The common bamboos belong to the
Dinochloa, Lingnania, Phyllostachys, Schizostachyum, Semiarundinaria,
Sinocalamus, Thamnocalamus and
few other genera. China tops in bamboo culms producing countries with
around 5000,000 tonnes year, followed by India and Japan.
India is one of the leading
countries of the world, second only to China in bamboo production with
323,0000 tonnes per year. India shelters a large number of bamboo
species and is considered as one of the largest reserves of bamboos in
the world. There are 125 indigenous and exotic species of bamboos
falling under 23 genera in an area of 10.03 million hectares. This
constitutes around 12.8 per cent of the total area of forest cover in
the country. They form an important constituent of the deciduous and
evergreen forests and are spread from tropical to temperate regions,
extending from alluvial plains to high mountains, ascending to
altitudes of 3000 m above mean sea level. Bamboos are found as an
understorey in the forests of almost all the states except in Kashmir
Valley. They form rich belts of vegetation in well-drained parts of
tropical and sub-tropical habitats and rise upto 3700m of altitude in
Since bioclimatically, India is
divided into five major regions viz., the alpine, sub-tropical,
tropical moist and dry tropical regions. The distribution of bamboos
also differs from one region to another with certain bamboo taxa
characteristic of a particular zone.
Other principal genera of India
lndocalamus, Oxytenanthera, Schizostachyum and Melocanna are
concentrated in the Western Ghats and in the North-eastern region. The
generaSchizostachyum, Phyllostachys and Gigantochloa are
widely distributed in the North Eastern India.
There are about 65 species of
both indigenous and cultivated bamboos in Indonesia. The important
species are Melocanna
atter and G.
apus. Species of Dendrocalamus andDinochloa are
Japan has 13 genera with over 237
taxa of different form, sections, subspecies and varieties. Bamboo
groves cover about 123,000 hectares in Japan. The main bamboo species
occupy around 84 per cent of the total area under bamboo cultivation.
10 genera and 13 species have
been reported from Korea.
The commonly found bamboo genera
are Arundinaria, Bambusa,
Schizostachyum, Chimonobambusa, Dendrocalamus, Dinochloa, Oxytenanthera and Thyrsostachys.
They occur in association with rain forests as understorey.
This country has 7 genera and 44
species of bamboos out of which 25 are indigenous. The most common
genera are Bambusa,
Dendrocalamus, Dinochloa, Gigantochloa and Schizostachyum.
About 90 species of bamboos are
reported from Myanmar which occur as an understorey of evergreen,
semi-evergreen and deciduous forests. Sometimes it occurs in pure
26 species of both indigenous and
exotic bamboos are recorded from this region.
54 species of bamboos have been
recorded in the Philippines including the introduced ones. The common
genera are Bambusa, Dendrocalamus,
Dinochloa, Gigantochloa, Schizostachyum,Thyrsostachys, Phyllostachys and Yushania.
There are large natural reserves
of bamboos in Singapore. Totally 6 genera and 23 species have been
recorded. The common genera are Bambusa,
Dendrocalamus, Gigantochloa, Phyllostachys, Schizostachys and Thyrsostachys.
Seven genera and 14 species are
reported from Sri Lanka of which 5 species are endemic to the region.
The important species are Bambusa
orientalis and B.
vulgaris var. vitata.
Thailand has 41 species of
bamboos in a total area of 1.02 million hectares. The important genera
are Bambusa, Schizostachyum, Dendrocalamus, Gigantochloa and Thyrsostachys.
India is endowed with rich
diversity of bamboos distributed in different bio-climatic zones of the
country. North-eastern region has over 50 per cent of total species of
bamboo occurring in India. The principal genera are : Arundinaria,
Bambusa, Dendrocalamus, Melocanna, Neomicrocalamus, Ochlandra,
Pseudoxytenanthera, Schizostachyum, Thamnocalamus, etc.
Following is the systematic account on the species growing in India
with emphasis on flowering, where available, distribution and specific
uses of the species.
Usually tufted, erect Culm
hollow, glabrous or hairy; internode striate, glabrous or scabrous;
node prominent with 1-3 branches. Culm-sheath deciduous or persistent,
striate, straw-coloured, chartaceous or coriaceous, glabrous or
scabrous, with or without oral setae. Leaves linear-lanceolate to
oblong-lanceolate, tip acute to acuminate, with conspicuous transverse
veinlets; petiole short or long; leaf-sheath striate, glabrous or
scabrous or covered with bulbous based hairs cal1us with or without
bristled auricles. InfIorescence generally racemes or racemose-panicle
with few to many spikelets; spikelets 2-8-fIowered. Stamens 3; anther
basifixed. Style undivided with 3 long plumose stigmas.
Caespitose. Culm ca 4-5 m in
height, 2 cm in diameter, green at first, turning yellow with age,
branchlets numerous, fasciculate. Culm sheath 12-15 cm long, narrowed
towards the apex; imperfect blade absent in lower culm-sheath. Leaves
9-10 x 0.8-1.0 cm, bright green, apex acuminate, base attenuate into a
short petiole. Inflorescence a divaricate panicle; spikelets pedicelled
and provided with 1 to many membranous longitudinally striate bracts,
2(-3)-fIowered; empty glumes 2, lanceolate, outer is smaller than the
inner; lemma ovate, violet, many-nerved; lodicule 3, small, rounded,
tip ciliate; stamens 3, pendulous, filament long. Ovary surmounted by 2
plumose stigmas. Caryopsis ovoid-oblong, acuminate at the apex.
VERNACULAR/LOCAL NAME: Khasi
hills - Ustoh,
Tufted, shrubby, with single
stems from the rhizome. Culm ca 2.0 m high, greyish green; internode ca
15 cm long, striate, strigosely hirsute, scabrous in young culms; node
not much swollen, with 1-2 thick branches and a ring below the node
formed by the scars of the fallen sheath. Culm-sheath 10-15 x 2.5 cm,
papery, striate, covered with long brown hairs on the dorsal surface,
rounded at the tip; inner glume ca 9 mm long, 5-nerved; lemma ca 12 x 4
mm, ovate, setaceous, acuminate, striate, 9-nerved, ciliate at the tip;
palea ca 8 mm long, with 2 ciliate keels, 1-nerved on either side of
keel, apex bifid; lodicules 3, ca 2 mm long, ciliate on the margin, 2
are ovate-acute and 5-nerved, third one is ovate-obtuse and 1-nerved.
Stamens 3, free; anther basifixed, tip bifid, blunt; filament very
short, delicate, twisted. Ovary ca 1,5 mm long, oblong, ovoid, hairy at
the base; style undivided, long, curved with 3 plumose stigmas.
Caryopsis ca 3 mm long, oblong, dorsally furrowed with persistent base
India - Sikkim, W. Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh. Wide spread and
gregarious; common in low level hills.
Darjeelling and Sikkim maling is used for a variety of purposes. The
maling bamboo mats are extensively used as roofing material, temporary
partition walls, doors and nursery sheds. The culms are also used for
fences and garden supports. Young leaves are in great demand as cattle
and Pony fodder. Emerging young shoots are good for edible purposes.
East India: Sikkim and Khasi hills in Meghalaya. Distributed mostly in
cool temperate to sub-alpine zone; gregarious and forming large patches
in wet places.
USES: Used as
LOCAL NAME: Sikkim - Sanu
maling, pummoon, pat-hioo; Lepcha and Bhutia - Miknu. mikner.
Shrubby, erect, gregarious, with
long rhizomes. Culm ca 4.0 m high, ca 5.0 cm in diameter, glaucous when
young; internode ca 11 cm long, scabrous, yellow; with prominent, node;
branches 1-3, fascicled at the node. Culm-sheath ca 6 cm long, ca 2.5
cm broad at base, striate, chartaceous, pubescent and narrowed towards
the tip; imperfect blade ca 1.5 cm long, narrow, striate, ciliate on
the margin, acute at the tip; auricles bristly; ligule ca 2 mm long,
fimbriate. Leaves ca 10 x 1.0 cm, linear-lanceolate, apex sharply
acuminate, base attenuate into a 3 mm long petiole, ciliate on the
edges, glabrous on the surface; main vein prominent, secondary veins 3
pairs, intermediate 6, transverse veinlets many; leaf-sheath striate,
straw-coloured, scabrouson the surface, edges glabrous and ending into
a callus with auricles having brown bristles on both side of callus;
ligule short, blunt. Inflorescence an axillary panicle on leafy
branches; rachis glabrous, with 3 spikelets; spikelet ca 3.5 cm long,
with 4-8 florets on glabrous pedicels, upper most floret empty;
rhachilla ca 5 mm long, clavate, pubescent with tuft of hairs below the
flowers; empty glumes 2, very small, ovate, acuminate, papery, hairy at
the tip; outer glume ca 4 x 1.0 mm, 3-nerved; inner glume ca 5 x 2.5
mm, 5-nerved; lemma ca 10 x 4 mm, ovate, tip long-acuminate and
ciliate, margin minutely ciliate, brownish-red, 9-nerved; palea shorter
than lemma, ca 8 mm long, tessellate, 2-keeled, ciliate on the keels,
tip bimucronate and ciliate; lodicule 3, ovate-lanceolate, acute,
ciliate, 5-nerved, ca 2 mm long, one is shorter. Stamens 3; anther ca
4.5 mm long, bilobed, basifixed, tip-bifid, acute, yellow; filament ca
1 mm long; ovary ca 1 mm long, ovoid-oblong, glabrous, orange in
colour; style undivided, short with 3 long plumose stigmas. Caryopsis
ca 5 mm long, elliptic, acute, glabrous, furrowed on one side with
persistent base of style and stigmas.
India - Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, West Bengal. It grows gregariously
and forms a very dense Undergrowth in mountain tops and valleys.
culms are used for mat-making, roofing of native houses, fencing,
garden supports, and leaves as fodder.
Shrubby and culms arising at
distance; rhizome creeping, covered with imbricating scales. culm ca
3.0 m high, 1 cm diameter, greenish yellow, flattened on one side;
internode ca 20 cm long, walls thin; node somewhat swollen, with 1-3
branchlets. Culm-sheath ca 10 x 4 cm, thin, striate, covered with brown
stiff hairs on the dorsal surface, ciliate on the edges, narrowed into
a broad truncate mouth; auricles rounded with long bristles; ligule
long, Fimbriate, narrow; imperfect blade ca 5 cm long, subulate,
A thickly growing, evergreen
caespitose bamboo. Culm usually 2-4 m high, 1.5-2.5 cm in diameter,
glabrous, smooth, green when young, afterwards yellowish, hard, much
branched from the base; nodes prominently thickened; internodes usually
20-40 cm long. Culm-sheath 10-15 x 5-8 cm, green at first, then
yellowish, stiff, glabrous, striate, slightly narrowed upwards and
rounded at the top; ligule up to 1.5 mm high, entire; auricles small,
bristly; blade 5-8 cm long, triangular, linear, acuminate. Leaves
usually 5-10 cm long, 8-13 mm broad, linear-lanceolate, base broadly
cuneate with a very short stalk, pale glaucous and finely velvety-hairy
beneath. Inflorescence a rather short, diffuse, leafy panicle with few
spikelets solitary or clustered. Spikelets 1.2-3.7 cm long, 0.5 mm
broad, very glabrous; straw-coloured, bearing 5 or more flowers,
separated by glabrous, flattened, 0.25-0.5 mm long rachillae, the
terminal flower only imperfect; empty glumes none, or very rarely one;
flowering glume, 2-keeled, minutely ciliate only at the tip,
many-nerved; lodicules 3, unequal, 0.25-0.5 mm long, entire, linear,
somewhat concave or thickened below, usually 2-nerved. Stamens
exserted, pendulous; anthers blunt or slightly apiculate, yellow. Ovary
obovate, rough, pubescent above; style very short, almost immediately
dividing into 3 long feathry stigmas. Caryopsis elliptic, furrowed,
roughly hairy above, with a short beak.
The bamboos grow well at a
temperature range of 8° to 36°C, a minimum annual rainfall of 1000 mm
and a high atmospheric humidity. The distribution of bamboos in India
appears to be influenced by the rainfall within a range of 1200-4000 mm
per year. They thrive best in monsoon forests where they attain their
maximum development. They extend from flat alluvial plains to high
mountains. The bamboos become undershrubs at high altitudes and in
temperate regions, some species appear like grasses. They are found in
moist valleys, sheltered depressions, along streams and lower hill
slopes, rarely occurring in higher slopes and hilltops. They are
usually found mixed with or under tree species, except in case where
they form secondary brakes, or more or less pure stands. Though all
species form brakes, those of
Arundinaria, Ochlandra, Melocanna and Bambusa
more extensive. Bamboo brakes are more common where shifting
cultivation is practiced.
The correct identification of
species is often a Herculean task, as most bamboos look alike and
flower at long intervals. There is widespread confusion in their
scientific names and their common names vary from place to place. The
bamboo plant is woody like a tree. It has a leafy aerial part, the culm
having nodes and internodes. The branches and leaves are present at the
nodes, in the upper region of the culm. The underground part consists
of rhizome and roots. The rhizome is similar to culm in structure and
has closely spaced nodes that root profusely.
The bamboo varies in size with
stems 40 m high and 30 cm thick to mere shrubs at high altitudes. They
are monopodial, i.e. erect as in Melocanna and Phyllostachys, sympodial
or clump forming, as inBambusa and Dendrocalamus and
climbing as in Dinochloa. Between
the single-stemmed and the densely clumped forms, there are
intermediate types with somewhat open clumps as in Bambusa
vulgaris. The erect and clump forming species are
characteristic of tropical regions and single-stemmed species are
generally found in sub-tropical or temperate regions. Bamboos are
classified into two general types depending upon the growth behaviour
of their rhizomes: (i) ‘Running’ or leptomorphic in which the rhizome
spreads laterally to a considerable distance instead of being massed
together and sends out single culms at intervals. They grow in areas
higher than 1000 m and are mostly confined to temperate regions of the
world. (ii) Clump-forming caepitose or pachymorphic in which the shoots
develop into a thin stem with foliage at the nodes.
A single bamboo stem is called a
culm and a cluster of culms originating from the rhizomes is
collectively called a clump. The average life of a culm is 7 to 10
years but some may live up to 15 years. The culms are generally round
and smooth. Sometimes they condense into bulges as in Bambusa
ventricosa. The culms may be hollow or solid. The hollow
bamboos have transverse septa at the nodes. The diameter of the culms
varies from a few millimeters to more than 30 cm. The number of fibre
bundles and the distribution of scattered bundles contribute to the
hardness of the culm. The deposition of silica in the outer cortical
layers adds to the hardness. The culms are jointed at intervals and
most have prominent rings bearing sheaths, which are characteristic of
each species. A white powdery mass covers the tender skin of young culm
that disappears as the culm matures. The culms of most of the species
are green when fresh but those of Bambusa
a gorgeous golden colour with green stripes or are variegated.
The rhizome in bamboos is woody
in nature, slightly arched, upturned at the tip like a
walking-stick-handle, thick and broad at the end bearing culms and
narrow at the proximate end called ‘neck’ where it is attached to older
rhizomes. The rhizomes are of two types: (i) short, knotty, thick and
solid, forming an entangled mass, giving rise to congested clumps, e.g. Sinarundinaria
runner-like spread over a wide area forming open clumps, as in Melocanna
The rhizome of a fully-grown
clump gives rise to two types of buds: a scaly and pointed bud
producing a new rhizome, and a flat bud producing culms. The scaly and
pointed buds are formed during summer and develop during the monsoon
and perish after the rains when humidity becomes low. The flat culm
producing bud develops during the winter and emerges in the rainy
The inflorescence is an
indeterminate compound panicle, usually large, with spicate branches on
which spikelet-like banches develop. The flower is composed of lemma,
palea, stamen, pistil and lodicule. When in bloom, floral glumes open,
stamens strech out and the stigma separates in three directions. The
flowers remain open for about 2-3 hours and then close.
The flowering in bamboos is an
enigma. There are several misconceptions regarding their flowering
behaviour. Most bamboos flower and seed gregariously once during their
lifetime and perish soon there after. The reasons for this mass
mortality after flowering are still not understood. All populations
from the same seed source irrespective of their locality start
flowering at the same time, indicating the presence of a biological
clock mechanism. The germplasm of every seed seems to have been
provided with a flowering calendar set to a fixed time. Most bamboos
flower at long intervals. Thyrsostachys
flowered simultaneously at Kolkata. Melocanna
observed flowering simultaneously in Assam and Dehra Dun, and Bambusa
flowered almost throughout India in 1970-71.
The bamboos require warm
temperatures to grow success fully. A temperature range of 8° to 46° C
is suitable for their cultivation; some cold hardy species can grow
even at –18°C. They are light demanding and should be planted away from
shade. Nearly 60 species are cultivated in India from sea-level to an
altitude of 4000 m. Dendrocalamus
the most common bamboo cultivated throughout North West India up to
2000 m, Bambusa
Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh and Arundinaria and its species
throughout the Himalayas. In Western India, the commonly planted
species are Bambusa
bambos, B. nutans, B. vulgaris, Dendrocalamus hamiltonii and D.
in Central and South India Dendrocalamus
dry slopes), Bambusa
moist valleys), B.
tulda, Schizostachyum pergracile and Gigantochloa
rostrata. In the Western Ghats, where semievergreen forests
occur species of Gigantochloa and Ochlandra are
grown. In the higher reaches of Nilgiris and Palni Hills, four species
of Sinarundinaria occur.
Bamboos can grow on denuded
wastelands and watersheds along the riverbeds. They grow luxuriantly on
loamy soils, sandy loams and in fertile clay loams. They are
drought-resistant and frost-hardy, but the extent to which they
flourish depends upon the physical nature of the soil including the
depth, texture, moisture-content and fertility. Most of the soils where
bamboos grow, have a good reserve of sesquioxides and potassium but are
not so rich in calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.
The site for plantations is
cleared of bushes and wire-fenced before the onset of monsoon. Bamboos
are planted both in pits (60 cm x 30 cm x 30 cm) and contour trenches
(21 cm x 50 cm x 50 cm) by staggering the space at 3 m x 3 m depending
upon the degree of slope. In areas of low rainfall, bamboos are planted
in sunken pits for moisture conservation.
Generally the application of
fertilizers is not resorted to for plantations but small doses of
nitrogenous fertilizers (200 gm ammonium sulphate or calcium-ammonium
nitrate) are applied in a furrow during the first year of planting.
Superphosphate (200 gm per plant) applied at the time of planting,
promotes better development of roots. Another fertilizer dose in the
second year in July is also recommended. An application of biofertilizer Azotobacter alone
or in combination with inorganic manure yields significant height
growth of bamboo seedlings. Application of 200 kg N, 100 kg P2O5 and
100 kg K2O/ha per year increased the
number of culms produced.
Bamboos regenerate from seeds.
After gregarious flowering the bamboos wither and the seeds are shed on
the ground. At the commencement of rainy season the seeds germinate
forming a carpet of green seedlings on the floor of the forest. The
growth of seedling is affected due to shade and weeds, but several
seedlings manage to persist for several years and develop into clumps
after 6-12 years. If the bamboos are not harvested in time after
flowering they wither and dry up. In hot season they may become
inflammable and cause accidental fires.
Fire and grazing are hazardous to
natural regeneration of forests. Seedlings have remarkable power of
recovery after injury from fire or repeated grazing. Fire is less
disastrous than grazing. Heavy grazing by herds of deer, elephants,
bisons, pigs and cattle is responsible for considerable damage to the
crops. Even in heavily grazed areas, a few seedlings survive inside the
dead clumps and eventually grow up. The underground rhizome often
survives for 2-3 years in spite of grazing to bareness, and produces
new clumps if fenced at this stage.
Bamboos can be propagated
through: seeds transplanting seedlings raised in nurseries, planting
separated rhizomes, through culm cuttings, offsets, layering,
marcotting, micropropagation and macroproliferation. In India
propagation of bamboos has been taken up on a large scale in Madhya
Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh.
Collection and storage of seed—Small quantities of bamboo seeds
can be collected from sporadically flowered clumps. Seeds should be
collected when these are fully ripe and start falling, which occurs
between the months of February and June. The seeds are either collected
from the ground or on a cloth spread around the clump and then shaking
the culms. Sometimes the fruits are cut and heaped on the ground and
beaten with a stick till the seeds fall out. These seeds are cleaned of
husks, by rubbing with hand and then winnowing, and dried before
storage. Large quantities of seeds are collected from the forest floor
after gregarious flowering. The weather conditions during seed
collection influence the viability of seeds. The storage of seeds
without loss of viability is of utmost importance, as seeds are not
always available. Seeds stored in gunny bags lose viability in about a
year or less, depending on the species and climatic conditions.
For harvesting, forests are
either leased out or permits and licenses are issued to individuals.
The period may range from a few days to years. Tribals and people
living in the forests are permitted to fulfill their bamboo needs from
forests. In some states, bamboos are harvested by the forest
departments and distributed. This practice prevents indiscriminate
exploitation of bamboos. Generally, three-year-old culms are harvested
but it is rather difficult to assess the age of a culm in a clump. To
determine the exact age, the new culms are marked either by marking
with Indian ink or painting after rubbing the thin waxy film with a
piece of coarse cloth over a small area of culm surface, or the year is
stamped on to the surface tissue by using a small steel die and a
After gregarious flowering, all
the mature bamboo clumps, in case of species that die after flowering,
are felled to avoid the hazards of fire. Harvested bamboo is highly
susceptible to insect and fungal damage, hence requires suitable
preservative treatment. After air-drying they are stored in sheds in
gunny-bags or in suitable containers, 30 cm above the ground, to
protect them from rains. In the absence of proper care a significant
amount of bamboo is lost during transport and storage.
The economic life of bamboo
farming is assumed to be 25 years. Few new clumps sprout after 21 years
hence the entire crop is harvested after 25 years.
The yield of bamboo varies
considerably, depending upon the density of the plantation and biotic
interference. The bamboo area can be roughly classified into four
categories: (1) Dense or pure - where more than 125 mature and well
developed clumps occur per hectare (2) Predominant-areas having 50-125
clumps per hectare (3) Sparse-areas having 25-50 clumps per hectare (4)
Poor and scattered-areas having less than 25 clumps per hectare.
In plantations, raised through
seedlings at a spacing of 5 x 5 m, the clump formation generally takes
place in the third or fourth year. Full-grown culms are produced by
sixth year. On an average 3-5 culms are produced per clump per year, so
about 275 to 300 clumps are produced per hectare. A systematic and
commercial exploitation of a plantation can begin from eighth year. On
a three-year cycle, a plantation may yield about 3-4 tonnes of bamboo
per hectare at the first cut, 5-6 tonnes at the second cut and 8 tonnes
from the third cut. Assuming on the basis of a life cycle of 32 years,
when the clump dies due to gregarious flowering, in all about eight
cuttings can be made.
Bamboos have a wide distribution
in the country and there is hardly any state where lack them. Their
distribution is governed largely by the condition of rainfall,
temperature, altitude and soil. In India, bamboo forms rich belts of
vegetation in well drained parts of the monsoon region at the foot of
the Himalayas and rises upto 7000 metre of altitude. Their distribution
is quite dense in the Western Ghats, Bengal, Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal
Pradesh and Andamans.
Climatically bamboo prefers
regions of high rainfall ranging from about 1270 mm to about 6350 mm or
even more, though they also occur in dry deciduous forests with as low
a rainfall as 750 mm. Rainfall plays a very important and dominating
role in the distribution and growth of different species. A maximum
temperature of 46.70ºC and a minimum temperature of 3.30ºC are recorded
from bamboo bearing localities.
The distribution of various
bamboos in areas adjoining the sea coast appears to be governed to a
great extent by the relative humidity. It has been observed that the
interior dry regions unaffected by the sea breeze are usually occupied
by Dendrocalamus strictus while
those situated near the coast, characterised by relatively high
humidity are dominated by Bambusa
Bamboo is a light demander. Under
heavy shade thin and whippy culms are produced. However, a certain
amount of overhead shade is also necessary during the early stages of
development of bamboo seedlings before they form clumps. There is a
direct relationship between the incidence of light and density of
clumps, largest number of bamboos is obtained when overwood is
clearfelled. Removal of overhead cover is beneficial.
Bamboo being a very hardy plant
comes up with on a wide variety of soils, derived from different parent
rocks, within its climatic habitat. However, each species of bamboo has
its own optimum site and soil conditions and rarely occur in mixture in
close association. Generally bamboos make luxuriant growth on hilly
slopes and on well drained, sandy loam to loamy soils, with adequate
supply of nutrients and moisture. Bambusa
bambos and Oclandra which
make good growth on clay soils and under moist situations such as the
river and nala banks. The low level depressions, steep slopes are not
conducive for the growth of bamboos.
Dendrocalamus strictus, one of the most widely
distributed species of bamboo in our country, is well adapted to a wide
range of climatic conditions. It thrives well under climatic conditions
typifying xerophytic characteristics of evergreen forests. Bambusa
widely occurring species next to Dendrocalamus
heavy rainfall areas.
Bambusa bambos is somewhat exacting in its site
and soil requirements. It prefers moist situations, seldom grows in dry
areas and is most common along the streams, in depressions along lower
slopes and other localities where moisture is available in large
quantities. In dry tracts, it prefers to grow on alluvial other deep,
fine textured soils, which have high moisture retaining capacity. The
growth of this bamboo is much inferior on dry lateritic soils than on
moist deep alluvial soils.
Soil moisture regime has an
important role in the distribution of various bamboo species so much so
that the influence of geology becomes a secondary conditions to any of
the soil characteristics that affect the soil moisture regime. Within
an area having the same parent rock, the upper and middle slopes
characterised by coarse texture and dry conditions are occupied by D.
strictus, whereas the bottom lands characterized by fine
texture and moist conditions are occupied by B. bambos. The natural
regeneration and clump size of the bamboo are greatly affected by the
moisture conditions of the soils.
Dendrocalamus strictus is a versatile species making
good growth on a variety of soils derived from such widely varying
parent material as granite, basals and rchirts. One of the essential
conditions for its successful growth is the sandy nature of soil and
good drainage. It prefers a dry soil and is a characteristic
constituent of open dry types of deciduous forests. The various
climatic, edaphic and biotic factors which accentuate dry conditions
appears to be conducive to the dominance of this species. In moist
localities the culms of D.
usually hollow while in dry tracts they are solid. This species gives
way to B.
The bamboo forms a unique group
of giant arborescent grass. Bamboo grows in two distinctly different
forms due to the types of its subterranean rhizome., i.e. either single
stemmed monopodial (leptomorph) (or) densely clumped Sympodial
(pachymorph). A complete bamboo plant consists of three morphologic
structures - the leafy aerial part (the culm) and the two underground
parts (the rhizome and roots). For successful growth, all these
structures must develop. Failure in development of any of these phases
leads to complete failure. The stems are called culms and their joints
nodes. A scaly rhizome underground stem is produced from the base of
the seedling-plant which after growing vertically downwards for a short
distance, curves up again and appears as a small culm (bud).
The buds in rhizome are initially
flat in shape, usually less than 2.5 cm in diameter and are covered
profusely with scales. These scales are at first not very apparent, but
develop rapidly as the buds develop. These scales are the
underdeveloped sheaths of the future culm. On carefully dissecting away
the scales one by one, it can be seen that a bud contains a complete
bamboo in embryo. Each bud has as many as 35 more telescopic internodes
with an equal large complement of scales in appearance, like the growth
rings on the stump of a tree, in the form of a terraced mound.
During the development of a
rhizome bud into a culm, the first thing formed is a short new rhizome.
Before the culm appears above the ground, the new growth develops into
a complete rhizome for the support of the culm. At this stage, it is
equipped with several fully grown buds, which in turn lie dormant until
the following years). The function of the rhizome is to give support to
the growing aerial shoots (culms) and to act as a feeding channel.
The sheaths are of vital
importance to culms during growth. Each internode is carefully wrapped
up in a single sheath, but the basal internode always has more than one
sheath. In a bud, the sheaths are arranged alternately clockwise and
anticlockwise. The sheath is a nurse to the tender internodes against
injury and desiccation. Its outer surface is armed with a cluster of
stiff hairs, which are detached on the slightest touch and cause
irritation to any naked part of the human body.
Most bamboo species of commercial
importance form clumps. The new seedling produces rhizomes which
develop new rhizomes that inturn produces culms. New rhizomes are
produced from the previous year rhizomes. The number of new rhizomes
may vary from one to many. Some seedlings fail to produce clumps. This
may be due to selfing or depression. In India new culms generally
appear during the rainy season. An unusual rain during winter months
may induce the emergence of new culms. Though the culms do not grow in
diameter after sprouting, they continue change in density and strength
Two kinds of buds are observed on
the rhizomes, the scally pointed buds and the flat buds. The former
develop into rhizomes and the latter into culms. The scaly buds are
formed during the summer months while the culm buds develop during the
winter months. The culm buds emerge out of the soil with the early
rains and grow rapidly. The culms are very tender during the growing
period. They are sometimes art and made into vegetable (or) pickles.
The age of an individual culm is not related to clump age. Culms are
tender during first year. They grow tough during the second year and
are mature during the third year. At the age of three years they
acquire full density and strength.
Rhizomes generally grow at an
upward inclined angle. The angle of incline depends on the species and
the condition of soil. During this period of growth any exposure to
sunlight stops the rhizome development. Consequently, the bamboo culms
that are covered with earth humus produce more culms while in areas
where soil erosion takes place, the production of new culms gets
reduced. The rhizome development is not peripheral as generally
believed. Rhizomes may develop in any direction and the culms may
appear anywhere in the clump provided overhead light is available for
the emergence of the culm. It is only in congested clumps that the new
culms appear to grow at the periphery. The new culms can even be seen
in the middle of the clump.
Bamboos differ significantly from
other vegetation because of the mechanism of flowering. Most of the
woody bamboos flower and seed after an exclusive vegetative grown for a
species specific supra annual interval, ranging between 3 and 120
years. There are three types of flowering. (i) Those which flower
gregariously and periodically (ii) those which flower irregularly (or)
sporadic (iii) those which flower annually. In gregarious flowering all
members of a cohort (Plants from seeds of common origin) enter the
reproductive phase approximately at the same time and after flowering
and seeding the parents die enmasse. This death of the bamboo parents
used to be given more importance, probably because of their long
intermast periods and arborescent habits.
Due to this peculiar flowering
behaviour in bamboos, flowers and seeds are available only at very long
intervals. This has resulted in a poor understanding of their
inter-relationships, besides making the perennial raising of
plantations using seeds and hybridizations difficult. Selection is the
only method available at present for bamboo improvement. It is possible
now to induce flowering is bamboos by tissue culture methods. Induction
of flowering in Vitro can
be used for perennial seed production and hybridizations.
Sowing of Seeds
Possibilities of raising bamboo
plantations from seeds are not always practical because of the
unusually long seeding cycles. Except in the case of Melocanna
baccifera, seeds of most of the commercially important species of
bamboo resemble grains of paddy wheat and are light in weight. Seeds
for direct and nursery sowing should be obtained direct from the
forest. The seed may be collected either on the ground previously
cleared on a cloth spread around the culm, by shaking the culms. The
best time for collecting the bamboo seeds is between the months of
February and July consequent to the flowering. The number of seeds per
kilogram varied from 75,000 to 1,05,000. The bamboo seeds remain viable
for short periods, with the initial viability is good, the seeds
rapidly lose germination vigour. The longevity of seeds varies from
species to species but they are generally viable upto 1-2 months,
although the period can be increased under controlled storage
conditions. Seeds of Bambusa tulda stored in a desiccator over silica
gel maintained their viability even after 18 months. By storage of
seeds under suitable temperature and moisture, the longevity of Dendrocalamus
could be extended upto 34 months.
For direct sowing, the soil
should be dug upto a depth of about 10 -15 cm, deeper in case of poor
soils, either in lines 3 m apart, in patches 3 m x 3 m 4.5 x 4.5 m
apart and cleared of all weeds. Seeds, after having been soaked for 48
hours before sowing are dibbled in beds at the plantation site and
slightly mulched. The resultant plant kept clean weeded for the first
2, 3 seasons. 1.25 kilogram of seed per hectare will suffice for widely
spaced patch sowing and about 11.5 kg for line sowing. Though direct
sowings are an easy method, they are generally neither practicable nor
desirable owing to shortage of seed, the necessity of continues
weedings till plants are well established, and the liability of
destruction by seed eating birds and rodents.
Rhizome With Roots
Rhizome without culms are cut 50
- 60 cm long with about 10 - 15 nodes and their roots. The 2 - 3 year
old rhizomes with roots are most satisfactory, but over 5 year old
rhizomes are entirely unsuitable. This method is recommended for
transplanting to distant places. In this case, they are wrapped with
sphagnum moss and covered with vinyl sheets after the soil is washed
away. Usually, they are first laid in the nursery bed 20 cm deep and
covered with soil (Figure - 3). They are transplanted next spring, as
new culms begin to grow. This method is applicable to monopodial type.
This is the good method of
vegetative propagation of clump - forming bamboo species in which
success has been achieved. One year old culms which are ready to sprout
within the year are cut off with short rhizomes. The culm should be
about 30 to 50 cm in length. The success of this method depends in part
on the vitality of the rhizome stock used and the time of the year when
it is planted. If the rhizomes are taken from young healthy stock and
planted immediately at the break of rain success can be expected. But
if the rhizomes are taken from old stock and planted much before the
rains, complete failure may result.
This method, however, has a
limited use because of the limited availability of the planting
material. Rooted culm cutting can be successful with most bamboo
species. The age of the culm and the period when these cuttings are put
out for rooting are important considerations. The two year old culm and
spring season have been found to give best results.
of Material and Preparation of Cuttings
Extract 2 to 3 years old culms
from healthy culms by cutting just above the first node during March -
April. The leaves and side branches should be trimmed. Care should be
taken not to injure the auxiliary buds while removing leaves and
branches. The culms should be transferred to the nursery site as quick
as possible. Maximum care should be taken to prevent drying. This can
be done either by wrapping in moist gunny bags embedding in boxes
containing moist sawdust. Two - noded cuttings (a cutting with two
nodes leaving about 5 - 7 cm on either side of the nodes) should be
prepared using a sharp knife saw. For bamboos with thin walls use of a
saw is advised to avoid splitting of the cut ends. Make an opening
(about 2 cm in length and 1 cm in width), drill two holes (about 7 mm
diameter) in the centre of the internode.
for Root Induction in Cuttings
10 gram of NAA (1-Napththlene
acetic acid) BDH, Loba Chem E. Merck), should be dissolved in 250 ml of
ethyl alcohol (90%) in a container by stirring the solution gently and
add water to make up 100 litres. The solution is mixed thoroughly by
stirring. The final concentration of NAA will be 100 mg/1 of water
equivalent to 100 ppm. This solution is sufficient to treat 1000
cuttings. About 100 ml of the solution should be poured to the culm
cavity. To avoid spillage, use a wash bottle to pour the solution
through the drilled holes. The holes should be closed by wrapping and
trying with a polythene strip (60 cm x 6 cm). Ensure that the polythene
wrapping should be tight so that the solution does not leak out. The
cuttings should be kept horizontally with the opening facing upwards.
For bamboos with narrow culm cavity like Dendrocalamus strictus the
treatment is given by dipping the basal portion of the culm cutting in
solution of NAA for 24 hours.
of Nursery and Planting
Raised nursery beds of 10m x 1 m
is prepared and filled with a mixture of soil and sand (3:1). One weak
prior to planting, drench the nursery bed separately with the
insecticide, Aldrin and the fungicide, Bavistin to prevent termite and
fungal attack. For each bed, use to 40 litres of 0.015% (9.1). Aldrin
prepared by adding 0.5 ml of Aldrex 30 EC per litre of water and 30
litre of 0.05% (9.1). Bavistin prepared by adding 1 g of bavistin 50 WP
per litre of water. The treated cuttings were placed horizontally (the
opening facing upwards) across the nursery bed. About 50 - 60 cuttings
may be conveniently planted on a raised nursery bed of 10m x 1 m.
Nursery beds must be provided
with a thatch to protect the cuttings from direct sunlight, which may
be removed on the onset of monsoon. The beds should be watered
regularly in the morning and evening with 30 to 40 litres of water pre
bed at each watering. Care should be taken to avoid water logging. The
sprouts after one month were treated with 0.01% of Bavistin to avoid
fungal attack. If necessary, farmyard manure may be applied increase
the vigour of the sprouts.
Rooted cuttings can be uprooted
and transplanted to the field during June - July. If cuttings are
sprouted and rooted at both the nodes, cut should be done carefully at
the middle of the cutting to get two plants.
The collection of culms from
clumps which are likely to flower in the near future is to be avoided,
because new clumps developed from such cuttings will also flower and
perish along with the mother clump. The year in which the clumps are
likely to flower can be found out by checking the previous flowering
record the area and the flowering cycle of the species.
The seedling bamboo resembles a
blade of grass. Seedlings should be watered daily and death does not
appears to be due to onset of the dry season. Bamboos (the
monocotyledons) have very different root system. The seedlings develops
a underground rhizome system, which carries a dense mat of thin usually
undivided adventitious roots, which show no secondary thickening and
are replaced by new ones as they die off in the course of time. From
the rhizome, in due course, culms of successively larger size are sent
A scaly rhizome underground stem
will be produced from the base of the seedling plant and after growing
vertically downwards a short distance curves up again and appears as a
small culm. Further rhizome sections will be develop in succession from
the first and follow the same penetrating deeper into the soil till the
optimum depth of about 0.5 m is reached and sending up successively
larger culm. Full sized culms will be produced after 2 - 5 years
depending on species and conditions. The rhizomes often branch two more
club shaped lengths each sending in a culm or culm bud developing from
buds on a single older length. It appears to be unusual for culms to be
produced from rhizome sections more than 2, 3 seasons old growth
accordingly it normally tends to be peripheral, but rhizomes sometimes
grow towards the centre specially if conditions are unfavorable. In the
species in which the rhizomes extends some distance before sending up
new culm, the culm themselves may well spaced out and individual plants
often cannot be distinguished from their neighbourhood e.g. in Melocanna
baccifera, but in many of the more important species notably Dendrocalamus
rhizome section are short and culms remain close together in a clump.
Growth and Development
There are three phases of growth
and development of culm viz., culm elongation (first phase) which on
nearing completion triggers thorn emergence (second phase) and finally
leaf appearence (third phase). The first phase commences with “Komali”
which means tender culm (30 to 40 cm high) completely covered by
sheaths with no isternodes seen outside and looking funny like a
foolscap. This stage lasts for about ten days and growth will be
extremely slow. After the initial period of slow growth the elongation
will takes place in spurts of increasing rates and reaches the peak
lasting a few days and then falls rapidly marked by leaf appearence,
culm elongation is over in 70 to 90 days depending on the length of
culm. The emergence of thorns (in Bambusa bambos) commences from the
25th to 50th day of “Komali” appearence and will be completed in about
135 days. Leaves appear on the 60 - 90th day and the culm becomes fully
leafy in about 150 to 180 days.
Recruitment of Culms
The productivity of bamboos will
be assessed by the number of new culms produced annually. At a given
site, the production of new culms mostly depended on, the degree of
congestion, clump age and rainfall of the previous year. In India, new
culms generally appear during the rainy season. An unusual rain during
the winter months may induce the emergence of new culms.
Bamboo seedlings (Bambusa
bambos) were planted in 1987 at Kallipatty, Tamil Nadu,
India. Almost all seedlings (250 seedlings ha-1) produced culms in
1988, the next year of plantation. Since then the culms were treated as
1 - year and recording of different growth measurement have been
continued for nine years. The Bambusa
produced only 5 culms per clump in the first year. The number of culms
gradually increased in the subsequent years and became maximum (17
culms) in the 6th year of clump age. Number of culm production then
slowly decreased from the 7th year and were only 6 in the 9th year of
clump age. Similar results were also observed by Banik in four other
Bambusa species, namely Bambusa
vulgaris, Bambusa balcooa, Bambusa
longispiculata and Bambusa
the Forest Research Institute, Bangladesh. Cumulative total culms
produced in the clumps of all these Bambusa species upto to 6th year of
age made crowded condition due to short (7 -12 cm) neck pachymorph
rhizome system. This crowded and congested condition created a scarcity
or room for the new emerging culms and also increased competition among
them for survival. Probably due to this reason culm production
subsequently decreased from the 6th year in the Bambusa species.
average production of culms was 2.5 in the first and from third year
the number increased rapidly to 12.5 . Culm production also rapidly
increased in the subsequent years reaching 35.7 after the 10th year of
clump age unlike, other clump forming bamboos M. baccifera has
underground pachymorph rhizomatous system with strongly elongated (1.0
- 1.5 m) neck. Owing to this rhizome nature the species produces culms
at varying intervals in all directions forming a diffuse and open type
of clump condition which can accommodates the space required for the
increased number of culm production in the subsequent years after
plantation. Probably due to this reason the rate and pattern of clump
girth expansion in M.
different from those of other Bambusa species. Othman reported that the
annual recruitment of culms was decreased from the third year clumps of Gigantochloa
Forest Research Institute, Malaysia.
Height and Diameter
Culms of all bamboo species
complete their growth within 2 to 3 months after the emergence of
sprouts from the ground, but their diameter and height do not increase
after the growth is over. It has been observed that in all bamboo
species that the culms emerged in the first year after plantation were
short in length and narrow in diameter at breast height. Culm produced
in subsequent years were distinctly taller and wider in diameter then
those produced in the past years and such trend is continued upto 6
years in Bambusa
bambos. 5 - 6 years in B.
longispiculata and B.
7 years in the case of B.
balcooa. After these periods clumps of these Bambusa species
did not produce any taller and wider culms in the subsequent years.
Clumps of Melocanna
taller as well as wider (with increased diameter) culms in the
subsequent years of planting and the trend was distinctly rapid upto
four years of age.
in Social Forestry
Bamboo is one of the most
important multipurpose species and therefore, it is being introduced in
a large scale under various programmes of social forestry. It is a
domestic orborescent grass and villagers like to plant it in home
gardens, around wells, compounds and in the agricultural fields. Almost
every part of the bamboo finds some use. The culm has high market value
and is used as building material, paper pulp resource, scaffoldings,
fishing rods, weaving material, agricultural implements, parquet
manufacture and as water conduits. Leaves of several species of bamboo
are utilized as fodder during scarcity. The thorny branches are used as
The bamboo is highly versatile.
It is capable of growing in a variety of soils derived from different
parent rocks, within its climatic habits. However, each species of
bamboo has its own optimum site and soil conditions and rarely occur in
mixture (or) in close association. The bamboo has been planted on a
large scale along road and canals. It is also planted in degraded
forest areas particularly near habitations. This can also be planted on
agricultural fields and homestead plantations.
The strip plantations along road,
canal and agricultural fields combine, three recognised social forestry
aspects viz. protection, community and subsistence forestry. They offer
physical protection to the land resource, in that they not only
conserve topography, soil, water, air and fertility, but also provide
shade and amelioration of surrounding environment. Their existence
provides protective barrier to adjoining cultivated fields. They resist
and prevent the effects of high velocity winds and thereby avoid losses
due to the detrimental effects of intense heat, light, wind velocity
and abrasive and chemical effects of air pollutants. They meet the
immediate requirement of the agricultural population of small timber,
fuel and fodder and cater to grazing.
Roadside strips, through state
government owned land resource, can be fully deployed for commercial
purposes Managerial limitation render the strip resource ineffective
for sustained commercial production. The management problem further
deepens due to variable site conditions. Soil characteristics in
particular, vary greatly within a short length affecting the uniform
growth of the bamboo species under the circumstances create problem.
Road side strips are common property resources and can be effectively
utilised for the production on a sustainable basis only when bamboo
vegetation is grown with the active participation of local population.
People’s participation can be achieved provided the right species is
selected and people have sharing benefits. Production and influential
benefits would naturally reach the community.
Bamboo is the fastest growing
species attaining harvestable maturity in a brief spell of three years.
The rural poor are the principal users of bamboo, using many time more
material than the pulp and paper industries. The easy availability of
bamboos, can help provide part time seasonal employment in its
processing for villages women. Bamboo are used for manufacture of large
number of value added goods handicrafts, by the rural people. The
growth in strip plantation is encouraging and support the productive
aspects achieved through strip planting under social forestry programme.
Bamboos for community forestry
programme was suggested by Shanmughavel. Community forestry programmes
are based on growing bamboo on public Community land contrary to
private farms. The degree of local participation in planting and
looking after the tree varies. What all community programmes have in
common, is that they are intended to provide benefits which are shared
by the community as a whole.
The most common type of community
forestry programmes is that in which the forest department takes on the
responsibility for carrying out the planting. Inputs such as
fertilizers and seedlings are provided without any outlay by the
community. The engagement of the local community in the implementation
of schemes of this type is largely passive and is normally restricted
to the provision of hired labour for planting and an agreement to
co-operate in protecting the plantation.
Other programmes rely on a much
higher level of community participation and control. They are generally
designed to use land, which is under direct community ownership they
can take place on state lands, which have been specially designated for
community control. The main responsibility for planting and looking
after the trees is taken by community itself and the role of the
promoting agency is primarily a catalytic one.
of Local Participation
As discussed earlier, the aim of
community forestry programmes are to regenerate the degraded forests
and barren lands by planting bamboo.
Community bamboo growing
programmes are crucially dependent upon the active collaboration of
village councils, community groups other local institutions. Programme
planning must therefore be based upon a clear affairs, their potential
for realising thwarting the aims of the programme. The
village community groups should be trained giving proper instructions
about the growing of bamboo in the barren land by the specialists in
the field. While selecting the village community groups, preference
will be given only to the educated unemployed youths.
Maximum 25 ha. area of
degraded/barren forest land is to be allocated at a time to each
participating village group. In future, more land can be allocated if
the work of the participating village committee is found encouraging.
After collaborative micro
planning a need based management plan will be drawn up. The forest
department will assist the village committee to establish joint
protection and management systems.
Order requires participating
village committees to protect the allocated land against non-forestry
use, encroachment, grazing, illicit felling and wildlife. Land in no
case is to be allocated to individuals and ownership of the land shall
remain with the Government.
Bamboo is considered to be a
unique raw material from the point of its quick growth, easy
availability, straightness, smoothers etc. It is used for various
purpose such as construction of rural houses, ladders, mats, baskets,
pipes and handicrafts etc. But the largest demand is for the
manufacture of paper. During the last few decades, it has become a
major source of raw material for the Indian Pulp and Paper Industry.
The Industry is presently facing problems of non-availability of
suitable fibrous raw materials in adequate quantity to meet its
requirements. The supply of bamboo, so far the main raw material for
the Industry, has been dwindling in the recent years. Still bamboo
accounts for 80 percent of the fibrous raw material requirement of the
Industry. The report on the National Commission of Agriculture brought
out some figures about the current demand and output of the projected
bamboo requirements for 1980 (4.274 million (CuM) and 2000 (7.005
million (CuM) and recommended the measures required to bridge the
increasing gap between demand and supply. One such recommendation is,
the sustained availability of bamboo can be ensured, only by raising
elaborate bamboo plantations, and also to use the existing bamboo
resources judiciously and efficiently.
State of Pulp and Paper Industries
Pulp, paper and fibre industries
are dependent on raw materials like bamboo, softwoods and hardwoods.
Agricultural residues like bagasse, paddy straw, mesta, kenaf and
grasses account for 30 percent of the raw material consumption of pulp,
paper and Board industries. The per capita consumption of paper in
India is only 2 kg/Yr-1 as against 200 kg/yr-1 in some advanced
countries. The planning commission has estimated to annual requirement
of paper products by the year 2000 to be 4,250 million mt yr-1 as
against the present installed capacity of 2.754 million mt.
According to statistics collected
by the development council for pulp and paper, the installed capacity
in India as on 01.01.1992 was 0.3 million mt of newsprint pulp, 0.196
million mt of rayon grade pulp and 0.040 million mt of paper grade pulp.
Thirty per cent of the raw
material used by the paper mills consists of agricultural residues. By
technological advances and modernization, it is estimated that the
production of paper in the country can increase the use of non-forest
raw material to 40 per cent. However, the dependence on forest raw
material for major portion of paper manufacture cannot be ruled out.
The rayon grade pulp industry in mainly dependent on debarked Eucalyptus, Casuarina,
bamboo and a small percentage of mixed hardwoods for their manufacture.
The bulk of the bamboo supply to
the paper mills was through natural bamboo available in the moist
deciduous forests of India. With the exception of Kerala, where reed
bamboo available from evergreen forests which is being used by some
pulp mills. Most of the bamboo supply comes from two main species viz. Dendrocalamus
strictus and Bambusa
bambos. In Northeastern states, bamboo is available in
secondary succession after jhum cultivation.
Bamboo is also grown in homesteads and farms and sold to mills.
Systematic efforts at projecting
the wood requirement of the country for industrial and non-industrial
uses was first taken up by the National Commission on Agriculture in
1972-1974. The report on the National Commission on Agriculture
broughtout some figures about the current demand and output of wood,
projected requirements for 1980 and 2000 and recommended the measures
required to bridge the increasing gap between demand and suppliers
(Table - 4). The Development Council for Pulp and Paper in the Ministry
of Industry appointed a raw material committee for pulp and paper. This
committee reported on shortages in the year 2000 (Table - 5). The
shortages projected by this committee for the year 2000 were 0.300
million t. of bamboo, and 3.55 million t of wood. In addition, the
committee projected the shortfall in the raw material for newsprint
production to be 0.161 million mt. of bamboo and 0.925 million t of
wood. The bamboo shortfall can be compensated only by raising elaborate
for Raising Bamboo Plantation
Seeds from bamboo are limited and
also possessing short period of viability. So the seedlings obtained
from tissue culture techniques preferably employed for raising
of Nursery and Planting
A nursing area of 10 m x 5 m
should be prepared in a field and filled with a mixture of soil and
sand in the ratio 3:1. Seedlings when they were about 7 cm in height
the seedlings should be removed from polythene bags, and transplanted
with about 25 to 30 per square meter in a raised nursery bed, irrigated
2 to 3 times a day taking care to avoid excess saturation. The nursery
beds should be provided with a coconut thatch to protect the seedlings
from direct sunlight.
The seedlings in the nurseries
will be carefully uprooted and transplanted to the field after about 10
months. The seedlings should be planted at 6 m x 6 m spacing with 250
seedlings per hectare. The transplanted seedlings should be irrigated
for two hours on a regular basis in both the morning and the evening.
Weeds should be removed from the plantation areas as and when required.
After one year, the plantation will be irrigated as 15 days intervals.
Plantation—Problems and Prospects
The present cultivation technique
is based on experience rather than on scientific basis. Species which
have attained a crop status in agriculture have long decades of
directed endeavour behind them. Bamboos have not attained the same
status due to lack of sustained investigations. A few problems of
fundamental and applied nature and biomass cultivation prospects are
Generally bamboos are cultivated
by planting offsets (rhizomes, as seeds are not readily available
except in seed years, which again are few and far and far between.
Seedlings obtained from tissue culture techniques can also be used.
Planting pits are prepared about two months ahead of the planting time
and the pit as well as the dug-up soil allowed to weather. Seeds
seedling were planted in the field at a spacing of 6 m x 6 m. In one
hectare 250 seedlings can be planted. If it is, off-set planting, the
collection of off-sets should be done very carefully. They should be
properly dug up so that the buds are not damaged in anyway. These are
than to be transported as quick as possible to the planting site,
ensuring protection against exposure and kept puddled under shade
before planting. The time of planting is a most decisive factor in the
ultimate success of the plantation. Planting work must be undertaken
immediately after the first showers of the monsoon. In plantations,
profuse watering is done, but over watering is avoided. All causalities
must be replaced in due course.
All the germinated seedlings
produces rhizomes, which develop, new rhizomes that produce lateral
culms, which are the chief causatives for the total biomass yield. The
number of culms developed from the rhizome totally constituted to a
clump. During the first year 3 to 4 culms generally increased year
after year. The culms produced during first year is shorter in length
and smaller in diameter, but culms from subsequent years will be longer
in length and bigger in diameter.
There are many irremediable
problem, if large scale plantation is planned. The problems relate to
seed collection, vegetative propagation, soil moisture conservation,
plant protection, weeds, grazing and fire and clump congestion.
Seeds of bamboo resemble grains
of paddy wheat and are light weight. Seeds for direct and nursery
sowings should be obtained direct from the forest. Possibilities of
raising bamboo plantations from seeds is unreliable due to the long and
unpredictable flowering habit of the bamboo. Besides, the seeds have no
dormancy period and are viable only for short period. It is suggested
that, a practical and cheap method of prolonging the viability of seeds
has to be developed. Some basic studies on seed biology needs to be
The formation of bamboo
plantations is not without risks. Young plants, most of which develop
the rhizomes in the seedling stage, suffer from depredations by rats,
hares, porcupines, squirrels, pigs, deer and cattle including goats.
But the chief damage is caused by man, monkeys and elephants. Effective
fencing is most essential in the early stages. In the nursery
wire-netting should be used to protect the seedling beds from hares
which can do a very great harm to them. Insect attack on the new
growing culms, on cut bamboos, is a normal factor in bamboo management.
In the life of a growing culm, the stage of greatest susceptibility of
fungal attack is the “Komali” stage. The green Komali turns brown and
comes off easily when pulled, leaving the area of transformation soft
and brown, smelling strongly like molasses. The pathogenic fungi kill a
large percentage of komalis and this is commonly experienced in heavy
soils of impeded drainage. The measures like drenching the clumpts with
blue copper in advance.
Weeds are the another important
problem during the initial stages of plantation. For this weeding was
done as and when required. If there is weed competition, the bamboo
regeneration suffers more less heavily and shade also thins it out.
Grazing and fire are most
detrimental to seedling regeneration. Therefore the plantation area
needs protection from grating and fire when protection against grazing
fire is not provided the regeneration in form of seedling are
grazed/browsed and killed.
Pattern of Bamboos in India
The bamboos which are giant,
woody, tree-like grasses, have a long history as an exceptionally
versatile and widely-used resource. Especially in Asia, where it is
known variously as the “poor man’s timber”, the cradle to coffin plant
and “green-old” bamboo has and still provides, the materials needed for
existence. The strength of bamboo culms, their straightness and
lightness, combined with hardness, range in sizes, hollowness, long
fibre and easy working qualities, make them suitable for variety of
purpose. From the tender shoots used for pickles and curries, lowly
sticks used per tooth picks and meat barbeques, through the ribs for
ubiquitous fans the slats for sun screens, to the sturdy lathies and
the so called bamboo houses, the versatility of bamboo is legendry. The
thousand and one uses of bamboo have long been known and established.
Some of the traditional uses are:
Agriculture implements, anchors,
arrows, back scratchers, basket, beds, blinds, boats, bottles, bows,
bridges, brooms, brushes, building, caps cart-yokes, caulking material,
chairs, chicks, chopsticks, coffine, combs containers, cooking
utensils, cordages dust-fans, fans fences, fish-traps, fishing nets,
fishing-rods, flagpoles, floats for timber, flutes, flower-pot, food,
food baskets, fuel, furniture, hats, handicrafts, haystack stabilizer,
hedges, hookah-pipes, joss-stick, kites, ladders, ladles, lamps, lance
staves, lanterns, lining of hats, and sandals, loading, nessels, masts,
match-sticks, mats, milk-vessels, musical instruments, nails,
net-floats, ornaments, paper, pens, polomatlets, rafts, rayon pulp,
roofing, ropes, sails, scaffoldings, scoops, seed-drills, shoes,
shuttes, tales, thatchings, tobacco pipes, toys tool-handles, traps,
tubs, umbrella-handles, walking-sticks, walls, water vessels and
In addition, bamboo is popular
ornamental. As a living plant it is used for hedges, and in landscape
gardening. It is valuable as a wind-break and is particularly useful
for preventing soil erosion on account of its interwoven root system.
In view of the extraordinary range of uses to which bamboos are put
they have assumed world importance.
Research is continuously going on
to develop new uses of bamboo. Some of the recent uses developed in the
country and elsewhere are briefly described as under:
Parquet (Block Flooring)
The term parquet is applied to
the flooring in which strips, 3.81 cm x 6.71 cm are cut and laid out in
The bambob culms are cracked,
spreadout and flattened into sheets with suitable binding and filling
material. Then the sheets are combined, lapped, arranged, glued,
treated and pressed to the desired form. They are then cut and trimmed
to the desired size and shape and finally given finishing touches
according to ones fancy.
Strip for Air Craft
The use ot bamboo-woven mat glued
to wood laminated to other bamboo mat for use in light air craft has
been studied. The material has been found to be relatively stronger and
its fatigue strength under bending stress in much higher than that of
wood. The bond strength of bamboo to bamboo is comparable to the bond
between bamboo and wood.
- Reinforced Concrete
Bamboo reinforcement was first
used in China in 1919 in concrete piles in railways. Since then, the
possibility of bamboo reinforcement is being thoroughly investigated.
The utilitarian value of bamboo
has been well established.It has age-old connections with the material
requirements of human beings. Its rapid growth, easy propagation and
short production cycle make it an ideal substitute for timber. It can
be an attractive commodity for commercial exploitation, as its
cultivation requires little effort and investment. Out of 128 species
reported from India only ten are exploited commer cially. Besides
food, bamboo is commonly exploited for traditional art, craft, and agricultural
uses, and in the industry for furniture as a raw material for paper
and rayon industries, for construction in low cost housing in typhoon
andearthquake-prone areas and a number of traditional cottage
The tender shoots of bamboos are
edible. They usually emerge after the rainy season and are harvested
when they are 20-30 cm high. In India, the shoots of Bambusa
bambos, B. multiplex, B. tulda, B. vulgaris, Dendrocalamus giganteus,
D. hamiltonii, D. longispathus, D. strictus and Sinobambusa
pickled and also used as vegetable. In the Northeast, and in some other
parts of the country, bamboo shoots are a part of traditional cuisine -
fresh, dried, shredded or pickled. Pilgrims to Haridwar often partake
bamboo shoots pickle. Bamboo
shoots are very popular in China, Japan and Indonesia, The edible
portion of shoots is about 27%. The tender shoots are very delicate and
luscious, a chemical analysis yielded moisture, 87.1%; protein 3.9%;
carbohydrates 7.5%; and minerals 1.4%. The shoots are rich in
phosphorus but low in calcium and iron. The shoots have been found to
be tough and more fibrous when collected late during the rainy season.
The shoots of Bambusa
sweet where as those of some species of Bambusa,
Dendrocalamus and Melocanna are
slightly bitter or acrid. The shoots contain cyanogenic glucosides,
which on endogenic hydrolysis yield hydrocyanic acid. The contents of
hydrocyanic acid vary from 0.05 to 0.03%, the tips of immature shoots
sometimes contain up to 0.8%. The bitterness or acridness is leachable
and can be removed either by changing the water several times during
cooking, or by soaking in different changes of common salt water (2%)
for several hours. The shoots also contain homogentisic acid and its
glucoside. An acidic xylan, an arabinogalactan and µ-glucan have been
isolated as the water-soluble polysaccharides from immature bamboo
During famine the seeds of Bambusa
bambos, Dendrocalamus strictus and Schizostachyum
consumed. The seeds resemble paddy though bigger in size. When mixed
with honey, they are a delicacy. They are pickled, candied and used
for making beer. The starch content of bamboo seeds is comparable to
that of rice and other cereals. The protein content is comparable to
that of wheat, predominantly glutelin. The essential amino acids
reported in bamboo seed protein are: arginine 8.9; cystine 2.1;
histidine 2.0; isoleucine 5.0, leucine 7.7; lysine 4.6; methionine
1.7; phenylalanine 4.4; threonine 3.6; tryptophan 0.8; tyrosine 3.2;
and valine 5.9 g/16gN, respectively.
The leaves of Arundinaria
racemosa, Bambusa bambos, Dendrocalamus sikkimensis, D. strictus,
Ochlandra travancorica, Schizostachyum capitatum, S. pergracile, and S.
much valued as fodder, particularly during scarcity of other usual
fodder materials. Young bamboo leaves and twigs are a favourite fodder
of elephants, and relished by cattle and horses. Arundinaria
used as fodder for ponies in the eastern Himalayas. In the Terai region
of Nepal, bamboo is one of the main sources of fodder for cattle and
buffaloes during winter. The giant pandas of western China feed
exclusively on the tender stems and foliage of Bambusa and Dendrocalamus spp.
The gorillas of the eastern Congo and Zaire depend largely on tender
stems of bamboos, particularly of Arundinaria spp.
An analysis of the leaves of Dendrocalamus
matter basis) gave; crude protein 15.09; crude fibre, 23.15; ether
extr, 1.43; and ash 18.33%; phosphorus, 170.0; and calcium 155.0
Cattle, elephants, bison,
rhinoceros, deer, pig, etc consume fruits of Melocanna
The rhizomes contain nutritive
elements N, P, K and Ca, and are suitable for preparing compost or
manure. Woody rhizome is used as an artefact.
Tabashir or Tabasheer
The hollow internodes of Bambusa
bambos, B. bambos var gigantea, B. vulgaris, Dendrocalamus strictus, and Melocanna
a substance, generally called tabashir,
tabasheer, banslochan or vanslochana. A
rattling noise on shaking the culms indicates its presence. It is
amorphous silica in microscopically fine state and occurs as chalky,
translucent or transparent, tasteless, 2.5 cm thick fragments of
masses (sp gr 2.16-2.19; nD 1.11-1.15)
usually the colour of pumice. There are two varieties: pale blue, which
is more common, and white. It is mainly composed of silicic acid (SiO2, up to 96.9%) with traces of
iron, calcium, alum, alkalis and c. 1% organic matter.
and Finishing Qualities of Bamboo
Bamboos are extensively used as
timber, particularly in the humid tropics where houses are made from
them. Bamboo can be cut and split easily with hand, saw or axe. Strips
of any length and size can be made with penknife. Immature bamboos are
soft, pliable and can be molded to desired shape. It takes polish and
paint well. Bamboos are stiff and strong but lightweight. Their
physical form with nodes and cross-partition walls makes it a strong
structural component for houses at low cost. Since the outer surface of
culm is smooth, clean and hard, it can be used as such without any
waste of bark. This characteristic of bamboo promotes its use in
various utility items and handicrafts.
for Structural Use
Because of its natural properties
like renewability, easy workability and flexibility bamboo is accepted
as a versatile construction material. About one third of the entire
bamboos in India are utilized for constructional purposes. Bamboos have
been put to a wide range of applications in numerous fields. Bamboos
with a greater wall thickness having close nodes and which grow on
ridges and warmer areas are often considered good for structural use
particularly for use as columns, beams, roofs, rafters, purlins and
trusses. Bamboo species extensively employed in construction are: Bambusa
bambos, B. balcooa, B. khasiana, B. nutans, B. polymorpha, B. tulda, B.
vulgaris, Dendrocalamus giganteus, D. hamiltonii, D. longispathus, D.
membranaceus, D. strictus, Melocanna baccifera, Pseudoxytenanthera
stocksii, Schizostachyum beddomei, S. capitatum, S. dullooa, S.
pergracile, and Thyrsostachys
Bamboo is the most versatile
forest produce and its potential can be harnessed in the service of the
mankind both humble as well as the great, for their comfort and
shelter, etc. It is one of the most important renewable natural
resources of humble grass which has the capability to produce maximum
biomass per unit area and time compared with other forest plants. The
importance of bamboo to rural communities can hardly be overstressed.
It plays an important role in their daily life in numerous ways, from
house construction, agricultural tools and implements, to providing
food material and weaponry etc. Besides being a convenient source of
cellulose for paper manufacture and rayon, it supports a number of
traditional cottage industries such as basket making, furniture,
handicraft etc. Recent advances have however put it in the hands of
scientists for hard boards, reinforcement in concrete, roof truss
construction, and the packaging material, etc. Even in today’s world of
plastics and steel, bamboo not only continues to make its age old
contribution but is also rapidly gaining importance both in the
foresters’ attitude and researchers’ quest. Bamboo plays a significant
role in the national economy and in the development of rural areas to
ameliorate an acute housing problem, furniture, and other diverse needs.
Bamboo may be used in different
shapes as per requirement of the situation as under.
Full : The most common shape of bamboo
is the full culm. Although no equipment is required to produce this
shape it has to be made suitable for building components. The culm is
generally tapered at the tip end and therefore the best way to use it
is by cutting the culms into shorter lengths for close fittings.
Half : Half shapes are produced by
longitudinally splitting the culms. Two cuts, 180 degree apart are made
by knife or axe. Wedges are placed in the cuts for splitting it into
two. The half-shaped bamboo are generally used in roofing. Likewise
quarter shapes are produced as per half shapes except that in this case
four cuts are made.
Splits : Splits
are made from quarters by cutting radially or longitudinally.
Boards : For
flooring, walls etc., bamboo boards are used. A board consists of culms
that has been cut and unfolded till it is flat. The culm thus is
finally spread open, the diaphragms at the nodes removed and pressed
Mats : They
are made by plaiting splits of bamboo. These could be produced in a
variety of shapes and patterns as a woven stuff.
Properties and Other Parameters
Physical properties : The
woody portion is present in the form of a hollow tube. The culms are
without any bark and have a hard smooth outer surface due to the
presence of silica. It improves its natural durability as well as the
strength. Its density varies from 0.4 to 0.8 g/cc. Limaye determined
the moisture contents and specific gravities of green and dry bamboo Dendrocalamus
various ages and compared with teak and sal as follows.
Most of the bamboos are hollow,
however a few solid bamboos also occur in nature. The moisture content
in different parts of a culm is almost the same in immature bamboo but
in mature ones, the initial moisture content decreases with height of a
particular culm. Unlike wood, bamboo starts shrinking both in wall
thickness and diameter as soon as moisture loss starts. Experiments
show that in drying from green conditions to about 20 percent moisture
content, the shrinkage ranges between 4 percent to 16 percent in wall
thickness and between 3 percent to 12 per cent in diameter.
Mechanical properties : The
mechanical strength of bamboo depends upon the species, climatic
conditions under which it grows and on its age and moisture content.
The strength increases during 3 to 4 years age and with decrease in
moisture content. Of all the bamboo species tested Dendrocalamus
found strongest. When its various strength properties, relative to teak
as 100 are compared with the corresponding properties of heaviest
timber i.e. Acacia
is found quite comparable both in dry and green conditions. Similarly
the weakest species of bamboo i.e. Dendrocalamus
compared with the lightest timber i.e. Ochroma sp.
it is found better.
Various strength properties in
green and dry conditions of bamboos from different states of India show
that dry bamboos are more stronger than green ones and are comparable
Due to its fast growth, easy
propagation, soil binding property and short period in which they
attain maturity, bamboo is an ideal species for use in afforestation,
soil conservation and social forestry programmes. Bamboos find a large
number of fascinating uses in the rural sector. They are used for
walling, huts, thatching and roofing. Besides landscaping/hedging, they
can also be used for medicinal purposes and for food material. Some of
the traditional uses are in agricultural implements, anchors, arrows,
protection shields, baskets, bed, bunds, boats, masts, bows, bridges,
brooms, brushes, strings, cart-yokes, chairs, combs, utensils,
dust-pans, spears, fences, fish-traps, fishing-rods, flutes, fuel,
furniture, hats, handicrafts, hookah-pipes, kites, ladder, ladles,
lamp-stands, pan trays, musical instruments, dowel-pins, rafts,
sports-goods, toys, chicks for doors and windows, tool-handles,
umbrella handles, walking-sticks etc. The general consumption pattern
of bamboo in India is as follows.
Seasoning is an essential
pre-requisite for maintaining shape and strength of bamboo products and
controlling cracks. Unseasoned bamboo is highly susceptible to fungal
discolouration and decay associated with splitting at the nodes,
collapse and deformation. Seasoning of the bamboo in the round form
presents considerable problem due to drying defects compounded with the
(i) relatively impermeable outer skin, (ii) concentration of
fibro-vascular bundles in the peripheral portions of the wall, (iii)
concentration of drying stress at the nodal partitions, (iv) variation
in the wall thickness, (v) excessive shrinkage, (vi) variability of
green moisture content, (vii) degree of maturity of bamboo and (viii)
liability to decay. Bamboos are best dried without serious damage, by
air seasoning under cover for a period of 2-3 months. Kiln seasoning
under control conditions is carried out in about 2-3 weeks. The outer
(surface) membranes and to some extent inner membranes are quite
refractory to seasoning and cause splitting. However, if green bamboos
are split into halves and then used, further cracks are avoided.
According to Sharma et
al., Bambusa nutans in
round form can be seasoned by giving a precoating of linseed oil to
reduce surface cracking. Similarly modified solar heated air drying
technique helps bamboos drying faster with minimum surface cracking.
Sharma while studying the effects of prefreezing on reduction in
collapse and cracking of round bamboos during drying found that green
bamboos responded to prefreezing treatment in a manner akin to already
established collapse susceptible species.
Analysis of Bamboo Tissues
Like any other woody material
bamboo is not a homogeneous substance. It is composed of tissues which
are divided into two broad classes : (i) Prosenchymatous tissues (ii)
parenchymatous tissues. Long thickwalled fibres arranged in clusters of
fibrovascular bundles are the components of the prosenchymatous tissue
which gives strength and toughness to bamboo, whereas the
parenchymatous tissue is composed of tiny, nearly isodiametric cells
whose function is conduction and storage of carbohydrate food material
elaborated by plants.
The proportions of these two
tissues in the internodes of bamboo vary from bottom to top of the culm
and have been recently determined for the first time. In a D.
of 52 internodes, in which 93 per cent of the total tissue material was
in the bottom 32 internodes, the overall average proportion by weight
of the parenchyma tissue in these bottom 32 internodes (nodes excepted)
was reported to be c.32
per cent varying from 44.5 per cent in the bottom internode to 29 per
cent in the thirtieth internode up. Corresponding proportions of
parenchyma cells determined by volume on the same culm of bamboo were
68.2 per cent in the third internode to 50.5 per cent in the
twenty-sixth internode; the internodes being numbered from bottom
upwards. Thus bamboo is considerably heterogeneous and contains large
amounts, both on volume and weight basis, of tiny parenchyma cell
material. So far, nothing is known to have been published regarding
chemical composition of these tissues, nor about their role when bamboo
is subjected to various chemical and mechanical treatment.
It is obvious that best
utillization of either wood or bamboo would depend on the appraisal of
anatomical, morphological, physical and chemical properties of its
constituent tissues. In case of pulping, no matter what procedure is
used, the final properties possessed by the pulp will mainly depend on
the properties inherent in the cellular tissues of the parent raw
material. Investigations on varied properties of constituent tissues of
untreated wood have been few because of the difficulty of separating
these tissues in pure form from raw wood. In the case of coniferous
woods the percentage of other tissues besides tracheids is small. In
the case of hardwoods, although the percentage of parenchymatous tissue
is appreciable, the separation of the tissues from raw wood is
extremely difficult as they are interwoven in both longitudinal and
transverse directions. However, in some instances where a single tissue
occupied a fairly distinct area in the structure of wood, it was
carefully removed and analysed chemically. In such a manner Harlow and
the medullary ray cells of untreated flame-she-oak and white oak by
merely scrapping out these cells from thin tangential sections of wood.
They were the first to publish the chemical analysis of the ray cells
of a hardwood.
In pulp industry a standardized
procedure is followed by which a finely divided sample of wood is taken
for analysis. The procedure recommended by the Technical Association of
Pulp and Paper Industry (T.A.P.P.I.) of U.S.A. consists in comminuting
a sample of wood so that all of it passes through 40 mesh sieve, than
the fraction of this which passes through 60 mesh but is retained on 80
mesh is taken for chemical analysis. From the viewpoint of pulp and
paper technologists this is regarded as representing the chemical
constituents of wood, but essentially it may not be so, because some
botanical tissues like ray or parenchyma cells might pass out through
the 80 mesh screen more or less completely, and hence the sample of
wood taken for chemical analysis may not be completely representative
of the wood under study. In the case of bamboo it was observed that a
considerable portion of the parenchyma tissue passed out of the 80 mesh
screen, and hence, the routine chemical analysis of bamboo would not be
representative in the true sense.
Separation of fibres and
parenchyma cells—Details about the principal and
technique of separation of parenchyma cells from fibrovascular bundles
are given below.
Freshly felled culms of 3-5 years
age of D.
taken for investigation. Tissue samples were separately taken for
bottom and top internodes of the culm. For bottom internodes the
central portion of the first four internodes from bottom of culm were
taken. For upper internodes the central portion of internodes 29, 30,
31 and 32 were used from the same culm which contained in total 52
internodes and wherein the internodes above the thirty-sixty were thin,
of solid core and contained little woody material.
For nodal tissues, the nodes of
the entire culm excluding the septa in centre of nodes were taken out,
crushed in a hammer mill to pass 40 mesh, but the portion from this
passing 150 mesh was rejected as it would cause trouble in filtrations
during chemical analysis.
To know the comparative values of
chemical constituents of the tissues of another species of bamboo, the
bottom internodes of a culm of Bambusa
were separated into its two constituent tissues and analysed for
significant values like lignin, cellulose, ash, solubility, etc.
Preparation of pure samples of
rings c 2 cm.
long were cut from central parts of bottom internodes. These were then
divided into 4 to 6 segments and aspirated and slightly softened by
boiling for about an hour in distilled water. From these segments of
internodes radial sections or shavings c.
40 micron thick were cut by a knife on a microtome. Alternately,
annulus rings could be peeled carefully on a lathe with fine edge of a
chisel and tangential shavings so produced could be used in place of
radial sections. When these longitudinal shavings were subjected to
mild, careful and repeated mechanical disintegrations in a small coffee
mill or disc attrition mill, the fibres and parenchyma cells separated
out at their middle lamella giving entities consisting solely of fibres
or parenchyma cells. The shavings were disintegrated repeatedly till it
was observed under microscope that the cleavage between the tissues was
complete. The tissue mixture was then sieved through 30 mesh and the
portion passing 30 mesh was passed through 150 mesh. The portion
passing 150 mesh was rejected as it would create distillates in
filtrations during chemical analysis. The portion between 30 and 150
mesh was died in an oven and was then spread over water in a shallow
dish; when the fibrous portion sank down and the parenchyma cells being
lighter floated on the surface of water; these were then taken out.
Both the portions were filtered, dried and separately refloated on the
surface of water to remove impurity of one tissue in the bulk of the
other. Three to five such flotations gave pure samples of the tissues.
Beating on the Cell Mechanics of the Individual Bamboo Fibre
Beating is essentially a process
which in principle does not differ from other mechanical action put
upon the fibre. Considering this, better understanding of the material
in question is of course of the greatest importance. Added to the fibre
length and other fibre dimensions, the basic morphological features of
the individual entity of the fibre are also important in explaining the
beating phenomenon of the fibres. The assumptions (rather proven ones)
proposed to explain the cell wall mechanics of the wood fibres has been
taken into confidence, as can be applied to bamboo fibres with the
To explain the mechanisms of
beating, apart from the fibre itself, the individual entity that
constitute the fibre is also an important aspect to be considered.
Though Hanna could support his concept on the existence of
sub-elementary fibrils in certain regions of the cell wall of the
fibre, the ultimate individual entity of the fibre should be the
elementary fibril because it is the final micro structure that should
possibly be obtained morphologically through mechanical means. Fengels
definition of fibre as a fibrillar bundle formed by the aggregation of
microfibrils, which in itself is the cluster of elementary fibrils,
hold good for all the fibres whether it is a wood fibre or a bamboo
fibre. These fibrillar bundles lie as layers along the fibre axis in
different angles, to form the different “Cell Walls”
of the fibres. So the orientation of the elementary fibril along the
fibre axis, and those influencing factors which bring forth changes on
it are the essential features to be considered upon to explain the
Wall Mechanics of Wood Fibres
Elementary fibrils are assumed
upon the be perfectly crystalline with the crystal axis in line with
the fibril axis and that these crystallites are embedded on an
amorphous matrix of hemicelluloses. Since the definition of fibre makes
the elementary fibril as the individual entity and that the microfibril
is nothing but a randomnly oriented and distributed microfibril
network, it is appropriate to say that the elementary fibril lie in
different angles in the microfibril and a three dimensional structure
of fibre ensues. The distribution pattern of the force along the fibre
axis is therefore different. This prompts to say that the fibre with
its different cell wall construction and fibrillar orientation in them
is like a beam having a differential structural features along its
axis. The theory of solid mechanics, that govern the force distribution
pattern in the beams and rods should apply unreservedly in predicting
the behaviour of fibres under stress. The behaviour of microfibrils
should then fall within the limits of Hook’s law of elasticity and the
force distribution along the different cell wall regions can be
calculated using appropriate tensorial equations meant for solid
mechanics of the anisotropic elasticity.
Distribution Across the Cell Wall
Mark pointed out that the fibril
bundles wound around the axis in a variety of angles and the real
difficulty lie in estimating their specific orientation. Also he has
assumed that the crystalline orientation on the axis is same as that of
the microfibrils. He has shown from the calculated elasticity constants
that in a fibre where the crystalline frame work is embedded in the
amorphous matrix as parallel strings the frame work will take the
The primary wall with its
fibrillar orientation normal to the fibre axis is isotropic from a
mechanical point of view. The high rigidity (modulus of elasticity is
0.272×1012 dynes/m2) and lower thickness (below 0.5
µm) makes this particular section rigid in character. Added to this,
any applied force to the fibre axis will be an uniform distributive
load, like placing the load at the centre of the beam. The rigidity of
the primary wall will make it to take the load less frequently: The
lower co-efficient of contraction will make this part of the fibrillar
network to resist any mechanical action on it. The region is rigid,
brittle and will not swell and if a strong mechanical action is but
upon, it will come out of the fibre as a thin sheath. Any fibrillation
of this primary wall produces fines which are very difficult to
activate. Though it appears that this portion of the fibre wall is
difficult to remove, in practice this is the region which is stripped
off at the very early stage of beating.
During beating, the fibre is not
only subjected to mechanical action but also to the stresses of water.
So the constraints at P and S1 layer
initiates the breakage of interfibrillar bonds between the celluloses
and the hemicelluloses (internal fibrillation). None of the cell walls
of the fibre is a solid block but layered regions. The building
material between them may be water (through hydrogen bonds) or
hemicelluloses. When fibres are immersed in water, they imbibe and
swell when beaten. The swelling is a “limited swelling”
because of the constraining crystaline cellulose and the partly
crystallined hemicelluloses. A weak force is enough to break the bonds
in the already swollen gel which is under stress.
The swollen fibre has subjected
to all the mechanics as described already. When beating proceeds or
when the fibre is exposed to extra strong mechanical action, the
fibrillar layer of the middle secondary wall splits in the longitudinal
direction to form fibrils external fibrilation.
The swelling pressure of the
interfibrillar substance is an important aspect to consider upon in
discussing the mechanism of the fibrillation. The lateral expansion and
the consequent longitudinal split up indicates that the fibre explodes
only after a through internal fibrillation. So for fibrillation, a
certain advanced swelling is necessary. Moreover, the maximum the
swelling and more softer the material the maximum fibrillation is
achieved. This sort of advanced swelling can take place only in the
regions of steeper helical winding and higher hemicelluloses
concentration. The concentration of hemicelluloses decrease from
primary wall (P) to the inner secondary wall S3. This may prompt to say that the
maximum swelling would take place at the S1 layer.
But it is not so, because, it is primarily dependent on the
accessibility of water which in turn is affected by the fibrillar
orientation (poor swelling of S1 because
of interwoven fibrillar structure).
Having explained the cell wall
mechanics of the wood fibres to an applied load, the necessary logic to
counter upon is, can these theories proposed for the wood fibres be
extended to explain the morphological changes of the bamboo fibres
Purkayastha has taken the
polyamellate structure of the thick walled bamboo fibre proposed by
Parameswaran for studying the changes in the morphological characters
of bamboo upon beating. Krishnagopalan, has shown that bamboo has both
thin and thick walled fibres in its vascular bundles Referring the
micrographs the polylamellate fibre wall structure of both thin and
thick walled fibre is evident.
the Fines of Bamboo Pulp
A very fine material is generally
produced during the course of beating or mechanical treatment of pulp
fibres. This material, which consists of ray cells as well as fibre
fragments is known to play an important role in controlling some of the
sheet properties. Early studies by Steenberg, Sandgren and Wahren1 have
clearly established the existence and importance of fines fraction in
papermaking. Since then several investigators have dealt with the
influence of finer fraction on the sheet properties.
The morphology and
physico-chemical properties of the fines are quite different from those
of the fibre fraction. A basic knowledge of the chemical composition of
fines is therefore, essential as it controls the physico-chemical
behaviour of fines4. Fines from groundwood pulp are
fairly uniform in chemical composition and they form a desirable part
of the furnish but, they are very undesirable in chemical wood pulps if
present in higher percentage use, they reduce the colour and strength
of the pulp and tend to produce pitch trouble on the paper machine.
The present investigation deals
with the chemical composition of whole pulp, pulp without fines and
fines alone as well as the influence of fines on some these properties.
A commercial bleached Kraft pulp
from bamboo produced by Central Pulp Mills India, was used. The pulp
was defiberized and fractionated in a Bauer-McNett fractionator using
three different screens with mesh numbers 28, 48 and 100.
The same pulp was beaten in a
laboratory valley beater to different freeness levels. The fraction
beaten to 210 ml. C.S.F. was fractionated in the Bauer-McNett
fractionator using the same screens as in case of unbeaten pulp.
The percentage of various
fractions so obtained was determined. The results are recorded in Table
The fines were isolated by
fractionating the pulp (beaten to about 250 ml. C.S.F.) in the
Bauer-McNett fractionator and collecting the fraction passing through
the 100 mesh screen (–100). The fibre fraction retained on 100 mesh
(+100) was also collected in bulk.
Composition of Fines & Coarse Fractions
Whole pulp, fractionated pulp and
fines were analysed for ash, K. lignin, Pentosans and alpha cellulose
by TAPPI standard methods. The results are recorded in Table-2.
of Whole Pulp and Fractionated Pulp in Valley Beater
The whole pulp and the
fractionated pulp were beaten to different freeness levels in Valley
beater till the final freeness was about 250 ml.
Stocks beaten to different
freeness levels were made into handsheets on the British sheetmaking
machine. The strength properties were determined after conditioning the
sheets at 65±2% R.H. and 27± 1ºC temperature. The results are recorded
in Table 3.
of Recombined Pulps
The coarse fibre fraction (Xc)
and the fines fraction (Xf) were recombined into proportions 95 : 5, 90
: 10, 85 : 15, 80 : 20 respectively. The sheets were prepared by
recirculation process and the drainage time was noted. The strength
properties of the artificial furnishes were also determined. The
results are recorded in Table-4.
The results from the Bauer-McNett
fractionation of unbeaten and beaten pulps (Table-1) indicate that
there is a change in the percentage of fibres retained on screens of
various mesh sizes (28, 48, 100). There is a considerable accumulation
of fines (passed 100 mesh)
especially after beating of the pulp.
Composition of Fines and Coarse Fibre Fractions
A perusal of the data on the
chemical composition of fines, whole pulp and fractionated pulp (Pulp
without fines) in Table-2 indicates that the fines fraction has a much
higher ash and lignin content than the coarse fibre fractions. The data
on the carbohydrate compositions suggests that there is no major
difference in the carbohydrate distribution between the fines and the
fibres. These data are similar to the data on spruce sulphite pulps
obtained by Kallmes and Lindstrom et. al.
Decay of Bamboo
Bamboo is in great demand for
paper industry and for constructional and other purposes. Its
productivity is reduced considerably in the event of a serious disease
inflicting the crop. In India a number of diseases occur in bamboo
nurseries, plantations and natural forests. Besides, seed borne fungi
also cause considerable damage to seeds particularly in storage and
thus reduce seed viability and germinability. A brief description of
important diseases and fungi associated with decay of bamboo is given
and the seed borne fungi are listed.
of Stored Bamboo Seeds
Seeds carry a variety of
microorganisms such as fungi and bacteria of which the former are the
principal ones. They attack seeds while still on the trees and also
during harvesting, storage and subsequent handling prior to sowing.
Seeds are prone to attack by a number of fungi in storage if proper
storage conditions are not maintained. Studies on seed microflora of Bambusa
revealed the occurrence of 28 fungi and 2 bacteria of which 10 fungi*
are potential seed borne pathogens capable of causing infection in
nursery seedlings. The number of seed borne fungi are more in D.
bambos and B.
Namdeo reported that treatment of
seeds with fungicides, like Ceresan @ 4g/kg checked fungal flora and
increased seed germination when seeds were treated with gibberellic
acid and potassium nitrate, Heydecker also found increase in seed
germination on treatment with fungicides, GA3 and potassium nitrate.
Somen reported Aspergillus,
Cephalosporium, Chaetomium, Fusarium, Penicillium andTrichoderma species
on seeds of Bambusa bambos. They
also reported enhancement in seed viability and germinability in Bambusa
seeds were stored over calcium chloride. They attributed decline in
germinability of seeds to see mycoflora. Pongpanich reported 20 fungi
other than recorded in India to be associated with seeds of B.
bambos, B. nutans and D.
a wide variation in mycoflora of bamboo seeds.
The success of plantations
largely depends on disease free planting stock. A large number of
nursery diseases have been recorded on bamboo in India of which
damping-off root rot are important ones. They cause heavy mortality of
seedlings under warm and excessive humid conditions. Studies carried
out during the last two decades showed that disease severity varied
from nursery to nursery depending on the climatic conditions, seedling
density and cultural practices. The important nursery diseases are
described and illustrated.
Viability and germinability of
seeds are of prime importance for raising adequate nursery stock. Both
these qualities of seeds are greatly affected by seed borne fungi which
may deteriorate the seeds right from the time of collection to the time
of sowing. Fungi like Fusarium spp.
which cause damping-off, are often associated with bamboo seeds.
Seedling mortality due to damping-off was recorded in Bambusa
bambos, Dendrocalamus strictus and B.
the fungi associated were identified as Fusarium spp.
and stem rot caused by R.
solani and Sclerotium sp.
was recorded in B.
bambos and D.
strictus. Besides, Fusarium
associated with seedling rot in Ochlandra
scriptoria whereas F.
oxysporum and F.
associated with wilt in the same species. Dual infection by Rhizoctonia sp.
and Fusarium sp.
took a heavy toll of vegetatively propagated seedling of B.
Rhizoctonia leaf blight The caused by R.
has been recently reported by Mehrotra in the Silvicultural nursery at
Kalsi under. The infected seedlings showed blighting of leaves with
profuse mycelial growth of the fungus all over the stems and infected
leaves forming a sort of fungal cobweb and entangling the detached
blighted leaves. The fungus advanced both vertically and laterally
resulting in complete defoliation and group infection of seedlings. The
disease was highly destructive as it caused premature defoliation and
death of young shoots. Clustering of hyphae at the base of the sheath
was a characteristic feature of the disease. The infected leaves is
early stages of the disease often showed brown stromatoid aggregates on
the under surface. The fungus developed characteristics dark brown
sclerotia on the infected plant parts and also on leaf litter. The
disease has also been recorded from central India.
The disease occurs commonly in
nurseries and plantations. The infected plants show excessive branches
at the nodes which arise as clusters, producing typical witches’ broom.
The cause of this malformation is, however, unknown. Bakshi reported
43.7 per cent incidence of witches’ broom in a forest nursery at
of Bamboo in Plantations and Natural Forests
The plantations and natural
forests are damaged by a number of diseases. A total of 45 pathogens
are recorded by various workers of which 12 are potentially important
causing significant damage.
This is one of the most
destructive diseases of bamboo recorded in the Indian sub-continent in
recent years. The first record of the disease was made by Boa who
observed large scale mortality in Bambusa
balcooa, B. tulda and B.
village groves in Bangladesh. The pathogen was identified as Sarocladium
oryzae. Bridge et
given a detailed taxonomic account of Sarocladium based
on biochemical and morphometric analysis. The fungus, well known to
cause sheath blight in rice finds the bamboo as
a highly susceptible collateral host. In bamboo, the blight disease
appears in August and assumes a serious proportion by mid November.
Thereafter little or no increase in the number of blighted culms in
seen. Boa worked out an integrated control measure of the disease which
included removal of blighted culms, burning of debris in clumps in
April before onset of rains and application of Dithane M-45 and copper
oxychloride as soil drench. In India, large scale mortality in B.
recorded from Orissa State. Jamaluddin et
that the pathogen occurred widely in coastal districts of Orissa and
caused large scale mortality to planted bamboo affecting the economy of