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Bamboo resources and utilization in Sri Lanka - Dayananda Kariyawasam

Ministry of Forestry, Watershed Management, Sampathpaya, Battaramula, Colombo.

Introduction

Country profile

Sri Lanka lies between 5°55' and 9°55' North latitude and 79°41' and 81°54' East longitude. The island has 6.4 million hectares of total land area with a population of 18.1 million people.

Climate

There are two distinct climatic zones in the country, the dry and wet with an intermediate zone in between (Fig. 1). About 66% of the island constitute the dry zone area which consists mainly of flat and undulating land. The wet zone is in the south and southwestern part of the country which consists of coastal plains and very rugged mountainous terrain rising up to an elevation of 2750 m. The mean monthly temperature of the island ranges from 20°C (in the highlands above 2500 m) to 30°C (in the lowlands). The annual rainfall ranges from 1250 mm to 1850 mm in the dry zone and 2500 mm to 5000 mm in the wet zone.

Plant composition

Sri Lanka, though a small island, has greater species diversity per unit area than many other Asian countries. The wet zone forests are the gene reservoirs of Sri Lanka's biodiversity heritage. There are 3650 species of flowering plants in the country, 840 species endemic and 94% of these are restricted to the wet and intermediate zones (Fig. 1). The wet zone is also the home of half of the total human population and gene reservoir of most of the endemic flowering plants of the country. Pressure upon the vegetative cover is great as a large number of fringe communities depend partially or totally upon the resources provided by forests.

Forest cover

Forest cover in Sri Lanka has decreased from an estimated 84% of land area in 1886 to 23% (1.48 million ha) in 1992. Seventy-five percent (1.12 million ha) of this natural forest cover is found in the dry zone. The country's natural forest cover has been distinguished into eight categories (Table 1) based on visual interpretation of satellite imagery. The dry monsoon forest category dominates half of the total natural forest cover of Sri Lanka.

Table 1. Area and category of forest cover in 1992 (>000 ha.)


Area

% of Forest

% of Land

Montane Forest

3.1

0.2

0.1

Sub-Montane Forest

68.8

3.4

1

Lowland rain forest

141.5

6.9

2.1

Moist monsoon forest

243.9

11.9

3.7

Dry monsoon forest

1094.3

53.5

16.5

Dry zone riverine forest

22.4

1.1

0.3

Mangrove

8.7

0.4

0.1

Sparse

463.8

22.6

7

Total

2046.5

100

30.8


Fig. 1. Bio-climatic zones of Sri Lanka.

Bamboo resource in Sri Lanka

Species, natural habitats and populations: Senarathne (1956) reported that 14 bamboo species were growing in Sri Lanka. Soderstrom and Ellis (1988) identified and reported 10 endemic species (Table 2). The bamboo resource of the country is enriched with the introduction of many species, some of which are cultivated (Table 2). Others are found only in the botanical gardens (Table 3). Many of the indigenous bamboos in the country are shrubby montane type and not well suited for utility purposes.

Table 2: Native and Introduced Bamboo Species in Sri Lanka

Source: Soderstrom and Ellis 1998

Species

Local Name

 

Native

* Arundinaria densifolia1

Bata

* A. debilis

Bata

* A. scandens

Bata

* A. floribunda

Bata

* A. walkeriyana


* Pseudoxytenanthera monadelpha

Bata

O Davidsea attenuate

Bata

* Ochlandra stridula Syn. O. talboti

Bata

* Dendrocalamus cinctus

-

* Bambusa bambos

Katu Una (Spiny bamboo)

Introduced


Bambusa vulgaris

Kola Una (Green bamboo)
Kaha Una/Rana Una (Yellow bamboo)

Bambusa multiplex

Cheena Bata (Chinese bamboo)

Dendrocalamus giganteus

Yoda Una (Giant bamboo)

Dendrocalamus membranaceus

Una

Dendrocalamus asper

Una

Dendrocalmus strictus

(Male bamboo)

Thyrsostachys siamensis Syn. T. regia

Siam bamboo (Thai/Male bamboo)

* Endemic species; 'O' Endemic genus
1 Most of the Arundinaria sp. are now assigned to Sinarundinaria
Table 3. Bamboo Species Established in the Botanical Gardens of Sri Lanka

(Source: Forest Department, 1988)

Species Name

Botanic Gardens

Peradeniya

Gampaha

Haggala

1.

Arundinaria

X

X


2.

Bambusa atra

X

X


3.

Bambusa multiplex

X

X

X

4.

Bambusa bambos

X

X


5.

Bambusa polymorpha

X

X


6.

Bambusa tesselata



X

7.

Bambusa tulda




8.

Bambusa variegata

X

X


9.

Bambusa ventricosa

X

X


10.

Bambusa vulgaris

X

X


11.

Bambusa vulgaris cv. vittata

X

X

X

12.

Chimonobambusa



X

13.

Dendrocalamus asper

X



14.

Dendrocalamus giganteus

X

X


15.

Dendrocalamus hamiltonii

X



16.

Dendrocalaums longispathus

X

X

X

17.

Dendrocalamus strictus

X



18.

Gigantochloa atter

X



19.

Meloccana beccifera

X



20.

Ochlandra species

X



21.

Thyrsostachys siamensis

X

X


22.

Unidentified sp. 1



X


Bamboos occur naturally in all three major climatic zones in Sri Lanka. Among the ten endemic species (Table 4), seven are found in the high altitudinal montane area of the central hill country, two are strictly confined in the dry zone and one occurs in the wet zone moist lands, cleared rain forests and forest gaps. The extent of their occurrence is not known except O. stridula (Table 6) which is found in 125 ha land area, in western and southern parts of the country. In the dry zone, bamboos are restricted along the river banks. No bamboo is found in extremely dry areas.

Table 4: Native Bamboo Species and their habitats


Species

Location

1

Bambusa bambos

Dry zone (wasgamuwa) Intermediate and dry forests in low hills

2

Ochlandra stridula

Wet lowlands and in the low hills in the western and southern parts of the country

3

Arundinaria densifolia

High altitudinal montane areas

4

A. debilis

-do-

5

A. scandens

-do-

6

A. floribunda

-do-

7

A. walkeriana

-do-

8

Pseudooxytenanthera monodelpha

Wet and intermediate zone, mountains of Badulla and Nuwara eliya districts

9

Davidsea attenuata

-do-

10

Dendrocalamus cinctus

Dry zone North Central Region, restricted distribution.


The introduced bamboo species are cultivated in various locations (Table 5) but the extent to which they are grown is not known except Bambusa vulgaris and Dendrocalamus giganteus (Table 6).

Table 5. Bamboo species cultivated in Sri Lanka


Species

Location

1

Bambus multiplex

Cultivated in rural area

2

Bambusa vulgaris

Cultivated in the wet zone, common on river banks

3

Dendrocalamus asper

Cultivated in the intermediate zone

4

Dendrocalamus gigenteus

Cultivated in the wet zone; common on river banks and home gardens

5

Dendrocalamus membranaceus

Cultivated in the intermediate hills

6

Dendrocalamus strictus

Planted by Forest Department in the dry zone

7

Thyrsostachys siamensis

Cultivated as an ornamental


Bamboos are found on both private and government lands. According to a survey in 1991, the two widely used bamboo species in the country, Ochlandra stridula is found in state forests, and Bambusa vulgaris mainly found on private lands. The extent of their occurrence is presented by division (Table 6). Kalutara shows the highest bamboo hectarage particularly O. stridula species. The extent of population of the other bamboo species has not been determined as they are scattered in small patches and some are ignored and indiscriminately eradicated due to lack of potential use.

Table 6. Bamboo population spread by division in Sri Lanka

Source: Forest Department, 1991

 

Division

 

Extent (ha.)

Yellow Bamboo

Bata

Giant Bamboo

Spiny Bamboo

Other

Total

B. vulgaris

O. stridula

D. giganteus

B. bambos

Badulla

8

1

-

NA

-

9

K'negala

12

1

1

-

-

14

Kalutara

62

1352

-

-

-

1414

N'Eliya

29

-

-

4

300

333

Matale

2

-

-

-

-

2

Galle

5

577

-

-

-

582

H'tota

42

-

-

-

-

42

Kegalle

75

190

-

-

-

265

Ratnapura

1

4

-

-

-

5

Total

236

2125

1

4

300

2666


Utilization and Production: Sri Lanka's bamboo resource supports the household economy as they are the raw materials used for cottage handicraft industry, housing and construction purposes. Although the resource is not as abundant as in other Southeast Asian countries, bamboos are utilized in many ways in the country since ancient times. Bamboo resources meet the subsistence needs and provide a source of cash income among rural families. Information obtained on the dependency of two villages on bamboo (Table 7) shows that average number of visits to gather bamboo and the number of culms extracted per year vary. A survey done by Forest Department indicated that 79% of the people who harvest bamboos from state forests use the materials for themselves in the manufacture of crafts with household importance like baskets, winnowing fans etc. The main raw materials collected for this purpose is O. stridula.

Table 7. Bamboo dependency of households in two villages

Source: IUCN 1995

Sample size

 

Pannimulla

Lankagama

25

25

Collection by:

Men

100

80

 

Children

0

20

 

Women

0

0

Av. no. of visits per year for bamboo extraction

0.2

0.1

Av. no. of bamboo culms collected per year

116.2

38.3

Av. value of bamboo collected Rs./ha/yr

348

114


Undoubtedly, people greatly benefit from the bamboo-based trade and industry. In a survey carried out by the Bamboo/Rattan Research Project funded by IDRC, the degree of people's involvement in the bamboo related activities revealed that 66% of the total number of people are gatherers and small percentage are users of raw materials producing various articles (Table 8). The findings indicate that a great number of people are dependent on the existing bamboo resource, particularly O. stridula in the natural forests. When the resource is depleted, these people will suffer as they will be displaced and lose their source of income. Similarly, the production of goods (craft industry), 11.5% of the total, will decline affecting many men and women working either on full or part time basis in the. O. stridula based industry (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2. Profile of workers in the O. stridula based Industry in Sri Lanka

Table 8. Percentage of people engaged in bamboo-related activities

Source: Forest Department, 1991

Activities

Percentage of people engaged in bamboo industry

Cultivating

6.2

Collecting raw materials from state forests

69.1

Collecting raw materials from private lands

8.1

Collecting and supplying raw materials

1.5

Producing goods

11.5

Buying and selling goods

3.6


There are only five species (Table 9) that support cottage industries, housing and construction projects in the country. Apart from O. stridula, other native bamboo species are of limited utility value which explains the relatively low utilization of bamboos in Sri Lanka. The seven introduced species however, provide a wide range of uses particularly B. vulgaris and D. giganteus which are in great demand in the housing and construction sectors.

Table 9. Bamboo species and their uses in Sri Lanka

Species (Native)

Uses

1.

Bambusa bambos

Bridges; ladders; leaves for thatching

2.

Ochlandra stridula *

Storage boxes; winnowing fans; food covers; milk strainers; flutes; blinds; tea plucker's baskets

3.

Arundinaria densifolia


4.

A. debilis


5.

A. scandens


6.

A. floribunda


7.

A. walkeriana


8.

Pseudoxytenanthera monodelpha *

tea plucker's baskets, fruit & vegetable baskets

9.

Davidsea attenuata *

tea plucker's baskets, fruit & vegetable baskets

10.

Dendrocalamus strictus


Species (Introduced)

Uses

1.

Bambusa multiplex

Ornamental

2.

Bambusa vulgaris +*

House frames; walls; bridges; scaffolding; floor coverings; fences; ladders

3.

Dendrocalamus asper

Multiple uses

4.

D. giganteus +*

Bridges; house frames; walls; ladders; floor covering; scaffolding; lamp stands; vessels

5.

D. membranaceus

Multiple uses

6.

D. strictus

House frames; tent poles; concrete reinforcement; walls; scaffolding; fences; mats; thatching (leaves)

7.

Thyrsostachys siamensis

Wattle and daub walls; scaffolding; ceilings

* Species known to support cottage industries; + support housing and construction (De Soyza and Vivekanandan, 1991)
With the increasing demand of bamboo by the housing and construction sectors, the economic importance of bamboo resource has increased tremendously over the years. The only two species widely used for housing and construction purposes: Bambusa vulgaris and Dendrocalamus giganteus are transported great distances from their growing locations as the price per culm justifies the transport cost.

In a survey done between 1989 to 1990, about 2419 people were issued permits by the government that allowed the transport of half a million bamboo culms in various districts (Table 10) of the country. The national revenue recovered on the permitted bamboo culms totalled Rs. 73 615 that year as a royalty of 25 cts. per culm was paid to the government when bamboo was extracted from state forests.

Table 10. Number of permits issued to transport bamboo culms in 1989-1990

Source: Forest Department, 1991

District

No. permits issued

No. of bamboo culms permitted

No. of persons issued permits

Royalty covered (Rs)

Ampara

7

1 165

7

1 165

Anuradhapura


1 030


1 030

Galle

832

162 089

784

24 155

Moneragala

13

2 107

13


Badulla

66

8 879

66

86

Kalutara

471

140 624

211


Kurunegala

679

127 681

508

16 290

Kegalle

240

45 142

240

5 880

Ratnapura

241

14 690

238


Kandy

359

38 980

352

24 230

Total

2 908

542 387

2 419

73 615

1 US$ = SRS 70.94
The farmers mainly cultivate Bambusa vulgaris because of high demand in the construction and housing sectors. Recently, this species is also used for making modern products such as vases, pencil holders and many valuable house decorations. Thus, the demand for B. vulgaris is increasing. But cultivation is done on small scale. They are planted in home gardens or on vacant areas in the villages. There is no established bamboo plantation for the production of mature culms in Sri Lanka. However, it is estimated that bamboo producers obtain a net income of Rs. 5000/- per year. Each bamboo culm is sold at Rs. 15 as wholesale price. The price of 9 m long bamboo culm was Rs. 30 in 1988-89. In early 1995, the price increased to Rs. 80. The shortage of supply and a high demand for bamboo triggered the price rise over the years. This trend will continue unless production level meets the demand. The only way to increase bamboo resource in the country is to establish plantations on large scale.

Production and management

Large scale production, proper management and protection of bamboos are urgently needed in the island before the natural resources are completely depleted. These needs were identified as priority in the country's Forestry Master Plan, 1995. Associated developments such as the Participatory Forestry Project of the Department with assistance from ADB, is an effective avenue to encourage bamboo resource development in partnership with the communities and farmers. This is an important step to instill people's awareness on their role in the development and sustainability of the bamboo resources. It is critical that the user of the resource is actively involved in the production of raw materials unlike today when people indiscriminately harvest bamboo from the forests. The lack of concern about the artificial production of bamboo was shown in 1969s and 1970s, when plantation of D. strictus was established but later abandoned. At present however, it is one of the species being promoted for cultivation by the Forest Department.

Bamboo production information in Sri Lanka is only gathered from the permits issued when bamboo culms are transported either on roads or rivers (Table 10). Bamboo culms collected by villagers proximal to bamboo growing areas are not accounted for. Hence, available stocks and rate of extraction cannot be ascertained to date. Yet, over-exploitation is evident as villagers continue to gather raw materials from the bamboo resources around them without management or replenishment. Cultivation of bamboos is done in backyards of village houses and vacant areas. The production level in these plantings are very limited and unreliable. Production technologies of bamboo are well developed in other countries and Sri Lanka can learn from them. The government has to promote large scale cultivation of bamboo by expanding its level of utilization. The importance of bamboo for rehabilitation of watersheds as soil stabilizers can be a reason to plant useful bamboos and allow extraction of mature culms as it is in natural forest. However, management and protection schemes need to be in place for the people to follow.

Propagation by seeds: The most important native species that supports the cottage industry in Sri Lanka, O. stridula, is effectively propagated by seed. The species shows annual flowering and fruiting cycle but individual clumps do not flower annually. The fruits mature in small quantities and are moisture sensitive unlike other bamboo seeds where seeds are gregarious and very dry. O. stridula seeds have to be kept moist from harvest and has to be sown immediately or potted directly, watered frequently and kept in partially shaded area. Germination takes three weeks. Seedlings are ready for field planting in 2-3 months.

For other bamboo species however, propagation by seeds poses some difficulty due to a inavailability of right quantity and quality of seeds as a result of irregularity in seed production. Bambusa vulgaris for example, is reported to have flowering cycle of 150 years. Another drawback in using bamboo seed for propagation is the short viability of seed lots including O. stridula. It is important to have good storage facility to store the seed if seed is the reproductive material to be used in bamboo propagation. More research is needed on seed storability. It is also imperative to promote effective coordination between Forest Department, Research Institutions and Botanical Gardens so that other logistics of seed procurement and handling like proper timing of collecting and storage of the material can be done to ensure continued seed supply. Usually, bamboo seeds reach maturity when the green colour turns yellow and the seed becomes dry and reported to be shortlived.

Vegetative propagation: The vegetative propagation method is most effective for most bamboo species. For large scale propagation of B. vulgaris (Fig. 3) for example, cuttings from 2-3 year old culm is the best source of the material provided the cuttings contain a dormant bud or a branching node where the small branches have been clipped off. The cuttings are directly planted in polythene bags of suitable size, containing top soil and coir dust in the proportion 1:5. Splitting the bamboo culm into smaller sections is also done. Watering the cuttings is done frequently. In a week after potting, shoots appear followed by root growth in 3-4 weeks.

Rhizome cuttings and offsets are also commonly used by villagers for small scale propagation. These materials showed high success rate in propagating D. strictus. Part of the rhizome or offset which has a young shoot is separated from the clump. It is then transplanted into a shaded and wet area. The use of rhizome cuttings and offsets however is limited due to inavailability of the materials as clumps do not have rhizome at young age, even when clumps mature, there are only very few rhizomes and roots that can be separated. The productivity of the mother clump is reduced in proportion to the number of rhizome cuttings and offsets removed.

The major limitation in establishing plantation through vegetative propagation methods is reduction in life span of the plantation. Since the vegetative life of bamboo species is specific, the life of a vegetatively propagated plantation will depend on the year in which the propagules are extracted or separated from the mother clump.

Offset separation at a seedling stage has been successful for the T. siamensis, D. membranaceus and B. bambos multiplication. This method is developed in the Research Branch of the Forest Department and it is now used in Forest Department Nurseries. The seeds were germinated in the containers. After six months, offsets with rhizome part were separated carefully and then potted with suitable media.

Conservation and genetic improvement

Baseline information is required for management, conservation and genetic improvement of bamboo resources. With the assistance of IDRC, Forest Department was able to gather pertinent information about their distribution and population in the country. However, to evaluate its status and extent, detailed mapping of their locations is necessary. Hence, the National Conservation Review undertaken by Forest Department with the assistance of IUCN will lay the foundation of bamboo resource inventory. From there, bamboo database will be developed to serve different bamboo information users.

In situ and ex situ conservation: In 1991, conservation of O. stridula species (fig. 4) seemed premature as it was abundant locally though subjected to disturbances. However, conserving this native species and other endemics with or without known value is urgently needed while few natural populations are still available. In situ conservation is the most appropriate approach as it can easily be carried out by identifying their natural populations within the protected area network of the country such as forest reserves, national parks and sanctuaries and national heritage wilderness. Another approach has to be designed if these species are outside the network.

With conservation of materials in field genebanks, active participation of surrounding communities will be encouraged through social forestry and homestead programmes. The areas suitable for this purpose will be in the watershed or, denuded areas with poor soils and other locations where it is accessible to the people. The plantation established will also be the gene reservoir, soil protective cover, source of raw materials and place for education and training in managing bamboo resource in sustainable manner.

Fig. 3. Bambusa vulgaris. 4. Ochlandra stridula. The two common bamboos used in Sri Lanka (De Zoysa 1994)

Participatory forestry project (PFP) models: Presently, the Forest Department is implementing PFP through the assistance of ADB which involves the local community in developing private woodlots and forestry farms and promoting non-forest tree planting. State land on a 25 year leasehold, and food aid for labour inputs are among the incentives to the farmers. The PFP models are ideal to promote bamboo as one of the major species under this programme.

Research priorities

Despite the importance of bamboo in the rural economy of Sri Lanka, its large scale cultivation and utilization is limited, largely due to inadequate research and development activities related to propagation, plantation management and utilization. With increased recognition of the importance of bamboo, the IDRC Project was initiated in the year 1984 (Vivekanandan 1987). This project generated considerable information on propagation and planting. The various activities included:

1) Propagation techniques

2) Establishment of trial plots

3) Market studies and economics of bamboo plantations

4) Transfer of validated techniques and technologies related to the identified uses and the protection of bamboo populations.

Much information is needed on the conservation and use of bamboo genetic resource. This can be achieved through a two fold strategy. First, by providing access to rural people to use raw material after piloting appropriate models. Second, by intensifying the promotion of cultivation of economically valuable species that have been already established and by the introduction of potential new species into the country. In this context, the following research considerations are suggested, aiming at promoting the cultivation and utilization of bamboo in Sri Lanka.

1) Establish guidelines for sustainable management of existing wild resources, in particular for the native O. stridula. To date, no systematic study has been done on the management of bamboo for shoot production. The effect of different harvesting intensities on the performance and yield of O. stridula has to be studied. The conversion of existing natural stands into managed clumps is one of the major research needs. Further investigations are needed to determine both silvicultural and ecological requirements of this species and management strategies for augmenting poor areas. As the information on inventory and distribution is still in minuscule quantity, full scale inventory coupled with phenological and taxonomic studies should be generated and intensified.

(2) Promote the cultivation of useful species close to major use locations along rivers and stream reservations, drainage lines, channel bunds, paddy field bunds and in other water logged areas. This will not be a difficult task as mass propagation techniques for the extensively used O. stridula and Bambusa vulgaris have been developed. Studies on planting should be expanded covering the degraded lands of various soil conditions and localities. Research should also be initiated for underplanting monoculture plantations like Pinus, Eucalyptus and Acacias with species of bamboo.

(3) Initiate a programme for the introduction of new species of utility value to supplement the present supply of bamboo raw material. In this regard, Ministry of Forestry has already initiated a programme for propagation of B. bambos seeds. A few other species that can be recommended for investigation are, B. polymorpha, B. tulda, B. nutans, D. strictus, D. hamiltonii, D. brandisii, Gigantochloa attar and G. levis. In addition, it is imperative that species which can be used for non-familiar uses should also be introduced and popularized. Species that could be used as raw material for the paper industries or for the production of edible shoots, as structural components should be given priority. Pilot plantation establishment should be intensified to capture variability of growth and yield performance of the different species in various parts of the country. The growth and clump development in such pilot plantations should be monitored continuously for management purposes.

(4) Initiate a programme of research to improve the durability, strength and service life and other useful characteristics of bamboo for construction purposes. While some bamboos are commercially utilized, there are other species still abundant left unexploited. The less popular species need to be studied intensively in order to promote them as alternatives to the commonly used species. Amongst the important properties to be explored are anatomical, chemical, physical, mechanical and bonding characters.

(5) Macro propagation using segmented culms, although successful with many of the important species, can be further improved to maximize the use of planting material and minimize cost of planting stock production. Further research on “difficult to root” species should focus on reducing container size of planting material and determination of rooting media and fertilizer requirements.

(6) Initiate a programme on genetic improvement of bamboo species of utility value. Since sexual reproduction is unpredictable in bamboo, vegetative reproduction methods have to be used for genetic improvement work. First, a provenance trial needs to be carried out. This would involve identification of distinct geographical areas, collection of propagules and planting of provenance trial with replications. Second, superior provenances should be selected based on the performance and a base population will be established using propagules from superior clumps. Planting material from the improved base population can be used for planting programmes.

References

De Soyza N., Upeksha Hettige and K. Vivekanandan. 1990. Some aspects of bamboo and its utilization in Sri Lanka. In I.V. Ramanuja Rao and R. Gnanaharan, (eds.). Bamboo Current Research IDRC, India. Attention is drawn in this paper to the urgent need to intensify the use of bamboo resources in Sri Lanka through systematic management and their promotion of use as a substitute for small timber. While two of the species, Ochlandra stridula and Bambusa vulgaris have been emphasized, several exotic species with high utility value suitable for Sri Lankan conditions are recommended for further introduction.

De Soyza, N. and K. Vivekanandan. 1991. The Bamboo and Rattan Cottage Industries in Sri Lanka - livelihoods in danger. Forest Department, Sri Lanka. This report calls for a closer analysis of the bamboo and rattan based cottage industry. It contains an illustrated account of bamboo and rattan crafts as discussed in the Master Plan for Handicraft Development. This account of the industry also attempts to go beyond the narrow focus to see the plants in a social context.

De Soyza, N. 1994. Ochlandra stridula - A profile. Bamboos in Asia and the Pacific. FAO. Bangkok. This paper reviews the state of knowledge on O. stridula in view of its economic importance in the rural sector. It is based on the findings of the IDRC supported research project which aimed at assessing the distribution and the availability of bamboo in Sri Lanka and developing mass-propagation techniques for economically important ones. The paper highlights the need for accurate information on plant resources.

Forest Department 1988. Final Report. IDRC - Bamboo/Rattan Research Project. Sri Lanka. The report records the progress of research activities carried out by the Forest Department under the IDRC - Bamboo/Rattan Research Project 1984-1988 which was launched with the objective of increasing the production of bamboo and rattan species to supply the local industries. In this report, progress made from July 1984 to August 1988 is documented, achievements assessed and future priorities for research have been identified.

Forest Department 1991. Final Report. IDRC - Bamboo/Rattan Research Project. Sri Lanka. The report documents the achievements made in the phase II of the IDRC Bamboo/ Rattan Research Project from January 1989 to December 1991. Activities involved a market study on bamboo and rattan, development of propagation techniques, the establishment of trial plots, economics of bamboo and rattan plantations, transfer of validated techniques and technologies, and protection of bamboo and rattan natural populations.

International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources 1995. Traditional use of Natural Forests in Sri Lanka - A National Survey. Forest Dept. Sri Lanka. The report has documented the findings of the National Survey of the Traditional Use of Forests. It investigated the nature and spatial patterns of forest and the degree of dependence by local people on forest based materials, and their impact on forests in Sri Lanka. The study has elucidated the spread and character of traditional forest use activities including bamboo extraction and the intrinsic element of a traditional association between man and the forest environment in Sri Lankan context.

Senarathne, S.D.J.E. 1956. The Grasses of Ceylon, Government of Sri Lanka. A comprehensive account of Grasses of Sri Lanka. Twelve species of bamboo were recorded. Of these nine are indigenous including 5 endemic species. The remaining three are cultivated species.

Shibata, A. 1984. Project report for the development of the bamboo and cane industry in Sri Lanka. Unpublished report. Department of Small Industries. Sri Lanka. Report of a utilization agency aimed at promoting and expanding the bamboo industry. The status and the situation of the raw material was discussed.

Soderstrom, T.R. and R.P. Ellis. 1988. The Woody Bamboos (Poaceae Bambuseae) of Sri Lanka. A Morphological-Anatomical study. Smithsonian-Contribution to Botany. No. 72, Washington DC. Illustrated descriptions are given for 12 species in 6 genera of bamboos. Keys are included to the subtribes, genera and species.

Sumithraarachchi, D.B. Upeksha Hettige and N. de Zoysa. 1993. Bamboo for Housing in Sri Lanka, Royal Botanic Gardens, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. A guide to identify fourteen species of bamboo that are suitable for use in the construction industry.

Swarnamalee, P.A. and K. Vivekanandan. 1994. The Bamboo Resource in Sri Lanka. In Bamboo in Asia and the Pacific, FAO, Bangkok. The authors have provided the results of a survey conducted to study the market demand and supply of bamboo, the quantity of yellow bamboo used for construction and other purposes in Sri Lanka.

Tilakarathne D. 1992. Multiplication of bamboo seedlings by offset separation. Proceedings of the 3rd. MPTS workshop. Sri Lanka. A study on multiplication of bamboo seedlings by offset separation, successfully carried out for the species Thyrsostachys siamensis, Dendrocalamus membranaceus and Bambusa bambos; details discussed in this paper.

Trimen, H. 1990. A Handbook on the Flora of Ceylon. Dulau and Co. London Vol. V 313-319. Three species of bamboo, all belonging to the genus Bambusa have been described.

Vivekanandan, K. 1987. Bamboo research in Sri Lanka. In A.N. Rao, G.D. Dhanarajan and C.B. Sastri (eds.). Recent Research on Bamboos. IDRC, Canada. The article gives an update of the bamboos in Sri Lanka and the status of research done under the auspices of IDRC. A brief botanical description of the 14 species is given with a key for identification. Research work carried out on the commonly used Bambusa vulgaris on the production of mass propagules for large scale cultivation is discussed.


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