Webinar series “Managing the Remaining Forests” Seri#25 Bamboo towards a Millennial and Global Commodity

Webinar series “Managing the Remaining Forests” Seri#25 Bamboo towards a Millennial and Global Commodity

Indonesia - 02 November, 2021

As a type of plant that grows well in Indonesia, bamboo can be found in a variety of products that are used daily, ranging from handicrafts, household furniture, to textiles and energy. Preserved bamboo can be a construction material that can last up to 30 years, and can absorb carbon up to 50-100 tons/ha/year. With a growth rate of 50 tons/ha/year, bamboo can grow on marginal land, is drought-resistant and can function as a water absorber, controlling erosion and improving soil physical properties, so it is good for use as a restoration plant, as well as for the economic development of rural communities. "We need to ptomote bamboo so that it can be planted widely for economic restoration and for carbon sequestration," said Edi Purwanto, Director of Tropenbos Indonesia in the 25th Tropenbos Indonesia webinar series "Managing the Remaining Forestst" entitled "Bamboo towards Millennial and Global Commodities". The event, which was held on October 30, 2021, was attended by 500 participants from various backgrounds including the government, private sector, academics and the community.


According to M. Zainal Arifin, Director of Soil and Water Conservation (KTA), Directorate General of Watershed Management for Forest Rehabilitation (PDAS RH), Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF), actually it has been a long time since bamboo has been proposed for rehabilitation and reclamation. Plants related to vegetative engineering for watershed management have at least 2 roles: in the hydrological cycle as spring protection as well as landslide prevention and slope stability guard. Bamboo is suitable as a "water friend tree", which among a number of criteria is able to influence the process of infiltration of water into the soil, maintain land water balance and protect the sustainability of springs. "Bamboo is a plant that meets all these criteria," said Zainal.

Unfortunately, until now bamboo has not been part of plants used for reclamation and rehabilitation activities because bamboo is not in the category of woody plants, but one of 650 types of Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs). As a result, policies related to the management of NTFPs are also attached to bamboo, including that NTFPs cannot play a role in reclamation and rehabilitation activities. However, MoEF has tried to carry out a number of interventions, such as allocating 10% of the target for seed production in permanent nurseries for bamboo species, and including bamboo in planting activities in People's Nurseries (KBR), People's Forests (HR), Community Forests (HKM), Village Forest (HD) especially in disaster-prone areas. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry has also launched a national bamboo planting movement with priority locations on community-owned land, community land, village land, free-state land, customary land, reservoir catchment area, springs, and rivers. In addition, currently there is a process of revising regulations related to forest reclamation and watershed rehabilitation according to PP 26 of 2020 concerning Forest and Land Rehabilitation which is expected to include bamboo in it.

According to Desy Ekawati, Bamboo Agroforestry Project Coordinator, KANOPPI 2 Cooperation, Environmental and Forestry Instrument Standardization Agency (BSI) - MoEF, there is now a new paradigm, where forest management and the forestry sector are not only made from wood but also from NTFPs and environmental services, and bamboo is one of the national priority (Ministry of Forestry regulation No.P35/2007 on NTFPs and No.P21/2009). The advantage of bamboo compared to wood, according to Desy, is enough to plant it once, after harvesting the results can be enjoyed every year, in contrast to wood which is only harvested once.

The most often challenge encountered today in developing bamboo in the community is the community's assumption that bamboo has no value. "They see that the economic benefit is not clear," said Desy. In addition, its management system is also unclear and unsustainable, as are the processing and business of bamboo products in the market. Moreover, there is currently no clear support for regulations and supporting policies at the landscape, regional and national levels. "In fact, the opportunity for bamboo development in Indonesia is actually very big due to the favorable climate, such as sunshine throughout the year, high rainfall, fertile volcanic soil, friendly weather throughout the year, and sufficient labor available," she said.

The opportunities of bamboo business development are also diverse, such as the manufacture of handicraft products, kitchen utensils, traditional furniture; pulp and paper, fiber, or crystalline. "To make bamboo a community commodity, one of the way is through agroforestry, it can be developed in Production Forests, Limited Production Forests, Protected Forests, or concessions, as well as in buffer areas, Other Designated Areas (APL), community lands, or Customary Land/Forest,” said Desy. Bamboo development can use Social Forestry scheme, KPH, Conservation Partnership, Ecosystem Restoration Concessions or IUPHHBK Concessions.

Historically and culturally, people in Indonesia have been very familiar with bamboo, therefore, like China which now dominates the global market, community-based bamboo development in Indonesia can also reap great success. Apart from being "community friendly", bamboo cultivation is easy to do, even by people who do not have a higher education background. In implementing the bamboo village approach with agroforestry system, according to Desy, among the things to consider are the right people, who have already had a bamboo culture, and the right location so that bamboo can grow optimally. In addition, approaches and interventions must also be appropriate and carried out in an integrated and synergized manner.

The diversification in bamboo agroforestry is also like an ‘ATM’ for the community where they can collect the harvest on a daily, monthly or yearly basis so as to increase village resilience. In general, the stages to build a bamboo village, according to Desy, include preparing nursery, capacity building, increasing knowledge and skills through field school, strengthening institution/community group, strengthening economic institution and business plan, strengthening value chain, market assurance, and regulatory support. Desy reminded, although the use of bamboo is intensified, the use of bamboo should consider its sustainability. This requires proper harvesting and provision of sufficient seeds. Strategic steps forward require the support of stakeholders with cross-sectoral synergies and policy support from the local to the central government.

In addition to the two speakers above, no less interesting was the presentation from Nur Anisa Shalehah and Marc Peter from Bambu Nusa Verde who explained on the potential of bamboo to be developed as a profitable and sustainable large-scale plantation commodity. Having a high adaptability to various environmental conditions bamboo can grow well even on peatlands or dry land. Meanwhile, IB Putera Parthama from Bambu Lestari Foundation gave an explanation of the strategy for developing bamboo industry through the program of 1000 Bamboo Villages. With a target area of at least 2000 ha, the bamboo plantation can be started from degraded lands. Owned and managed by the village either through cooperatives, BUMDes or small businesses, a small factory can be built in each village for processing bamboo raw materials into higher value products before being sent to another place for further processing which may use more modern technology.

The presentations available for download HERE

You can watch the full webinar in the following link: