Bamboo: The worthy alternative to rapidly disappearing wood

The search for alternatives to wood for handicraft, furniture, and construction industries is intensifying, thanks largely to the dawning realization that wood products are quickly becoming depleted as the world’s forested areas inevitably give way to human development. The remaining naturally forested areas and timber lands, at least in the Philippines, have become protected by virtue of of Executive Order 23 that bans logging activities in natural forests.

One such alternative gaining popular traction has been the lowly bamboo.

But as early as now, the harvesting of bamboo should also be well-managed, as there is still that danger of overharvesting, material wastage, and other unsustainable practices.

The growing importance of bamboo in various industries calls for a strengthened capacity for operating the whole business of producing, harvesting, processing and marketing this versatile grass, while ensuring its sustainability and the enterprises that depend on it.

To address this concern, the Forestry and Environment Research Division (FERD) of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD) recently conducted a training-workshop on bamboo.

Twenty-seven participants representing various agencies and bamboo farm owners from different regions attended the 5-day training workshop called “Sustainable Small and Medium-Scale Bamboo Enterprises for the Green Economy.”

Dr. Ramon A. Razal and Professor Rosalie C. Mendoza, both of the Department of Forest Products and Paper Science of the College of Forestry and Natural Resources of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (CFNR-UPLB), served as the overall facilitators for the training-workshop.

The facilitators imparted to participants various skills and techniques in establishing and marketing sustainable bamboo enterprises through lectures and hands-on training on nursery establishment and bamboo plantation development, bamboo innovations for entrepreneurship, and marketing of bamboo-based products, among others.

“The training-workshop provided us new knowledge on the production of various bamboo products such as charcoal, musical instruments, furniture, wood carvings, and even food from bamboo shoots,” Visayas State University instructor Andy Phil said.

Participants from the private sector, on the other hand, said that they appreciated the training course that focused on marketing and cost-benefit analysis of bamboo-based products.

In support of PCAARRD’s capability-building and R&D governance banner program, the training-workshop aimed to provide the participants knowledge on the use of bamboo for various products, while sustaining bamboo resources for a greener economy (DOST-PCAARRD S&T Media Services).

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