INBAR organized a bamboo planting event in Beijing 2016 to mark Earth Day (April 22) and promote the many climate-smart benefits of this versatile plant. Held in the City’s ‘Black Bamboo Park’ and attended by government officials, ambassadors and embassy staff, the event provided an opportunity to explain the role bamboo could play in sustainable development and climate change mitigation/adaptation strategies.
Invited guests included staff from the embassies of 28 different countries and international organizations, including the United Nations.
Bamboo is a strategic resource that offers a wealth of climate-smart options for rural communities: its fast-growing and renewable stands sequester carbon in their biomass, it brings ecosystem services and income-generating opportunities, it offers a cheap and renewable local energy source, regenerates degraded land, and its utilization can reduce growing pressures on fragile forests worldwide.
These benefits, and others, were prominent in the speeches that preceded the planting ceremony. Prof. Jiang Zehui, Co-Chair of INBAR’s Board of Trustees and Vice Chair of China’s Committee of Population, Resources and the Environment, stressed that bamboo as a fast growing plant with a large biomass and strong carbon sequestration ability could play an “irreplaceable role in global efforts to combat climate change.”
The strategic importance of bamboo is recognized in China, according to Du Yongsheng, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of China’s State Forestry Administration, who described the country’s on-going reforestation efforts – by 2020 China’s forests are expected to cover 223 million acres. Reflecting on China’s long history and rich culture in cultivating and utilizing bamboo resources, he confirmed the government’s commitment to protect bamboo resources and aggressively promote the bamboo industry.
Bamboo is emerging to play an important role in Nepal’s post-earthquake reconstruction, and the country’s Ambassador to China, H. E. Mr. Mahesh Kumar Maskey, described how the plant was bringing hope to devastated communities. One year on, bamboo is being harnessed to build homes and schools, reverse land degradation, and kick-start a green economy.
“From the devastation of a year ago,” he argued. “This strategic resource now offers an opportunity for Nepal to emerge a more prosperous nation committed to sustainability and greener, more inclusive economic development.”
Nepal’s efforts to mobilize its bamboo resources could be informed by the Global Assessment of Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) – a new initiative launched last year which was presented by INBAR’s Director General, Dr. Hans Friederich. GABAR supports countries to speed their development of bamboo and rattan, offering assessments and inventories, knowledge sharing, capacity building, policy shaping and technical advice.
Concluding the speeches, Mrs. Zhang Qing, Head of the Black Bamboo Park, committed to working alongside INBAR to promote bamboo culture and enrich bamboo species. With the speeches finished, guests made their way to a small plot where five clumps of bamboo were planted.