Bamboo and Species Conservation  

Main Contributor: Sarah Hamann

Other Contributors: Apsana Kafle, Sara Stuttaford, Arthur Lindhjem

Bamboo and Species Conservation 

What do pandas, rhinos, gorillas, elephants, and tigers all have in common? At least one type of their species is currently on the IUCN’s critically endangered list which means they are in imminent danger of being wiped out completely.

Illegal trafficking, climate change, habitat fragmentation, and human-wildlife conflict are a few examples on a laundry list that contribute to their diminishing numbers. Conservationists believe that survival from global extinction will rely on active conservation efforts and interventions instead of more passive measures traditionally relied upon.

The sad truth is that once a species is gone, there is no turning back which makes strategic, active conservation efforts more important than ever. One often-overlooked natural resource that can help in multiple ways is bamboo.

How bamboo can help vulnerable species from extinction

Bamboo can create buffer zones around habitat conservation areas to add an extra layer of protection.

Bamboo can create corridors between patches of habitat to allow for a greater expanse of movement and connectivity of species between separated wildlife populations.
Bamboo can create an alternative to non-timber forest products. Local communities that rely on those products for survival can turn to bamboo instead of entering protected habitat.
Bamboo can mitigate deforestation, climate change, and forest degradation which all threaten the rich biodiversity of species in forests.

Bamboo
In Action

The biggest threat to pandas right now is habitat fragmentation and isolation. Small isolated populations stuck on islands of habitat can lead to a complete dying out of the species. A bamboo corridor established in the Min Mountains of China has already led to an increase of panda activity between previously isolated populations.

Poverty alleviation and protecting biodiversity go hand and hand by using bamboo as a buffer zone around two national parks in East Africa. Bamboo is providing local communities, who are now invested in bamboo management, with construction materials while protecting the local mountain gorillas.
Bamboo fights climate change by absorbing as much as 12 tons of carbon dioxide per hectare per year, giving the plant a potentially crucial role in stabilizing our planet’s atmosphere.

Bamboo has been referred to as green gold as it becomes increasingly popular as a renewable, sustainable, and versatile material. Unfortunately, its popularity is not spreading fast enough and it has to offer as a natural resource that has not been fully appreciated or taken advantage of. It is becoming exceedingly imperative to educate the public and start using it to its full capacity. Hopefully, for the sake of critically endangered species, people start to take notice.

 

 

Additional Resources on this topic  

Sources

“Bamboo, Rattan, and Forest Biodiversity.” Global Landscapes Forum, 22 Mar. 2020, www.globallandscapesforum.org/glf-news/bamboo-rattan-and-forest-biodiversity/.

Yin, Kaipu. “Corridor Connecting Giant Panda Habitats from North to South in the Min Mountains, Sichuan, China.” ResearchGate, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Dec. 2006, www.researchgate.net/publication/50374228_Corridor_connecting_giant_panda_habitats_from_north_to_south_in_the_Min_Mountains_Sichuan_China.

Team, The ASEAN Post. “Fighting Climate Change with Bamboo.” The ASEAN Post, 9 May 2019, theaseanpost.com/article/fighting-climate-change-bamboo.

Contributor: Sarah Stuttaford

Panda Eating Bamboo 

 

Contributor: Sarah Hamann 

Video available here

Nat Geo Panda Bamboo 

 

Contributor: Sarah Hamann 

Video available here

Nat Geo Rare Giant Panda  

 

Contributor: Sarah Hamann 

Video available here