Indonesia plants bamboo to fight climate change

By: The Jakarta Post


Cultivating bamboo could help Indonesia mitigate the impacts of climate change, an Indonesian environmental scientist said during a side event of the United Nations climate conference in Bonn, Germany.

At the event, Arief Rabik, founder of the Bambu Lestari Foundation, said planting bamboo was a very effective way to rehabilitate degraded land and absorb and store carbon dioxide, adding that citizens could reap economic benefits from cultivating the plant.

The discussion was held on Tuesday at the Indonesia Pavilion set up by the Indonesian delegation at the UN Climate Change Conference ( COP23 ), which runs from Nov. 6 to 19.

One cluster of bamboo could store up to 5,000 liters of waters, demonstrating its role in soil water management. Meanwhile, one hectare of bamboo could absorb up to 50 tons of greenhouse gases per year.

Bamboo can also be cultivated in a wide range of soil types, making it easy for locals to manage.

"Bamboo is the winner when it comes to rejuvenating degraded land," Arief said as quoted by a statement released by the Environment and Forestry Ministry.

Arief, however, said bamboo still had a low economic value compared to other plants. In fact, he said, bamboo could be harnessed to produce products ranging from textile fiber to panels for construction.

Arief said his group, with the help of the ministry, was working on a project to cultivate bamboo in 1,000 villages across Indonesia. It is hoped that each village can cultivate at least 70,000 bamboo seeds.

Desi Ekawati, a researcher with the ministry's research and innovation development agency, said her team was developing a new bamboo cultivation method to help spur Arief's 1000 bamboo villages project.

Called "spartan seedling," Desi said the method could cut the period before harvest from eight or nine months to two or three months. (ahw)

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