Prioritize Bamboo Production in Burma: Environmentalists

A man walks on a makeshift bamboo bridge following flooding in the Irrawaddy delta in 2012. (Photo: Simon Roughneen / The Irrawaddy)

Environmentalists say bamboo should be given special consideration for commercial plantation in Burma, which ranks among the world’s top producers of the plant.

The Myanmar Green Network (MGN) is calling for the sustained development of bamboo forests and the application of modern technology to produce high quality bamboo products.

“We don’t want bamboo groves to be depleted, and at the same time we want people to know its value,” said MGN chairperson Dewi Thant Sin, an environmentalist and the great granddaughter of Burma’s last monarch King Thibaw. She was speaking at the launch event for a new group known as the Bamboo Lovers Association in Rangoon on Jan. 11.

Citing Burma’s Ministry of Forestry, she said China was the most bamboo-rich country in the world, followed by India and Burma.

But government officials say bamboo groves in Burma have been improperly cared for and poorly protected.

“In the past our department did not take care of bamboo groves, but just collected taxes from the private sector for cutting them,” Dr. San Win, an official from the ministry’s Forestry Department, told The Irrawaddy. “There was almost no knowledge about bamboo in the department, and people generally did not even know that we had to grow bamboo from seed.”

He said that since 2001 bamboo has been used in the country to make furniture and for home decoration, but that more skills were needed to craft such products.

“Management of bamboo forests is key to producing high quality bamboo,” said Aung Moe Zaw, a researcher at the Forestry Department. “I did four years of research for a bamboo project under the government’s plan for rural area development. It is quite difficult to collect straight and old enough bamboo. Without proper technique, it is also hard to cut them.”

Dewi Thant Sin said the Burmese people could profit by protecting bamboo groves and improving production of bamboo products. She said the country generated $1 billion annually from bamboo, compared to $500 billion in other countries.

More than 178,000 acres near the Pegu and Tenasserim Yomas mountain ranges are reportedly vacant, and environmentalists say the geographic conditions are suitable for bamboo growth.

4 Responses to Prioritize Bamboo Production in Burma: Environmentalists

  1. A very good idea.There is a problem with our agricultural or forestry department.We are advised to grow rubber,jatropha for biodiesel projects,coffee and tea..etc.Don’t know what will come next?People are very confusing and tired to study the growing technique for the purpose of successful farming.For example,Jatropha,its seed has poison ,the plant`s flowers releases pollen that will make us allergies for sure.The ones who failed to grow by the law lost their farmland.Now jatropha is a failed project.
    Dried or dead bamboo groves are cut down and used as firewoods in mountain villages in Burma especially in Karen’s.The so called wabo type ,dried,are cut down and carried back to their houses.They usually do in summer for storing the whole years use.
    A strange result happened.Cockcroaches that stay in the dried bamboo arrive at its new territory..all the household s in the village.Too many croaches.Especially in dinner time,they seem to be hungry ,climbed to the dinner table in dozens.While eating ,I never dropped my plate on the table just holding in my hands all the time and striking the table to scare off.Very disgusting situation. While drinking rice wine,I felt a lert all the time to worry ..the cockcroaches approach to my bamboo cup and my environs.
    I am not a supporter for mass growing of any kind of plants in our natural forests.We have had the balance naturally.We don’t know the outcome if we cover the certain area with certain kind of trees or plants.Just destroying ecological balance of the nature and its habitants.
    Japanese are regretting now because they planted cypress trees in mass scale in every vacant space in the mountains after second world war..believing that they might need lots of timber for reconstructions of the buildings.Those cypress had grown up ,releasing tons of pollen that polluted air quality and making us sneezy,eye and skin itching and suffer the hey fever during mid march to the end of April.At the same time ,Canadian timber is cheaper than the local produced cypress timber,so they import timber from Canada.Japanese started to suffer this pollen disease since a few decades ago,causing to buy disposal masks and wear the whole time and uncomfortable to live.These pollen are very fine and sticking to your clothes,so pollen are invading into yr house even if we close all the windows and doors.It is impossible to cut down all the cypress trees that are spreading rapidly.Due to it arrow like leaves,I have never seen a bird on that kind of tree..maybe fearing the leave might hurt its body.
    For that mistake,Japanese are paying a heavy price for destroying the ecological balance of the nature.One thing for sure,they will have to endure for generations.

  2. It HAS to be a typo, right? $500 billion generated annually from bamboos? If it’s true though, we should get right on it! Where can I get some bamboo stocks?

    • @Hein,There are 3 types of bamboos.Which one are they are going to advice.?Wabo,for instance,its groves has at least 10 bamboo trees.In Summmer ,when the wind blows bamboos rub each other causing sparks that ignite the dried leaves.So we could say that bamboo groves are the culprit of forest fire or wildfire wiping out the other trees in forest.We couldn’t do anything..just wait and see until the fire stops .That made the forested area shrinking and a negative impact on animals’existance.
      On top of that,we dont have fire engine or any light plane to put out the fire ,mostly in mountain area.

  3. They never know what they have been doing for six decades. Pa-yan-pa-tar government did/does/will do nothing good to the land but destroys our beautiful ancestors’ land into despair. Having like know everything but actually idiot people. Jack of all trade, master of none. They are not at the level of Jack of all trade.

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