Bamboo Important In Fight Against Climate Change
By Leocadia Bongben
Experts of the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan, INBAR have underscored the importance of bamboo in the fight against climate change especially with the carbon credit scheme and the restoration of the ecosystem.
It was in this light that the Minister of Forestry and Wildlife Ngolle Philippe Ngwese chaired the regional conference on the potential of bamboo and rattan, non-timber forest products known for their unique role in environmental sustainability and fight against poverty held in Yaounde from August 11-12.
INBAR Director Hans Friedriech told the conference that cutting bamboos can lead to deforestation; reduction of forest cover and on the same token can help in the sustainable use of resources and avoid cutting forest.
“Bamboos are grasses that grow very fast, so when cut, the following year new roots grow up and this goes on year after year making it a very sustainable plant which can be used for many different purposes.Because the bamboo grows so fast it plays an important role in green house carbon emissions, it absorbs more CO2 than trees and within a period of time is a veritable carbon sink”, Friedriech explained.
He added that if the world is getting into a new carbon credit scheme where trading can be done by avoiding emissions then companies can start using bamboo to compensate for their CO2 emissions, a real economic asset.
Denis Sonwa, Regional Centre for International Forestry Research expert maintained that the bamboo is under pressure in central Africa, through deforestation, which means carbon emissions contribute to climate change and on the other hand can be a solution for reafforestation on degraded soil.
“The bamboo grows on degraded soils and can contribute to soil restoration. Using bamboo to make money at the same time is adapting to climate change, being useful for Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation,REDD, the bamboo can contribute to the synergy between adaptation and mitigation of climate change.
INBAR is there to help Cameroon discover its potentials, the value chain of bamboo is impotant and has a potentail to be exploited taking the exampleof China with about 8 million people in the bamboo sector for a revenue of 30billion dollars per year.
In 2013 Cameroon signed a Memorandum of undertanding, MOU with INBAR to knit cooperation ties, improve valorisation of bamboo and rattan in Cameroon, Central and West Africa.
Within this context, training has been going on to develop the industry more with about 100 projects initiated. The result of the training Friedriech says is impresive with the production of handicraft, artifacts and jewelry. However he underlined the need to do more to improve the quality, bring in new designs and add value to make things bigger and better and find regional and international markets.
Cameroon bamboo and rattan can not yet be quantified but an inventory is being carried out in the Centre, South and Littoral and Southwest regions. Though Cameroon has only one main bamboo specie, several others were introduced years ago and in the world there are about 1600 species which can go for different uses.
To ensure sustainable use of the bamboo, there is need to expand and plant new bamboo though the root systems of the bamboo is so strong that when cut they may not disappear.The challenge however, is for actors to understand and capture the potentials.
Attended by experts from Nigeria and Liberia among others the conference ended with experts agreeing to draft a national plan on the promotion of bamboo and rattan in relation to their economic benefits, elaborate a national public policy, professionalize and support development of the sector and create awareness on the value of natural resources in order to better win the war against poverty.