Bamboo sanctuary proposed

THE resiliency of bamboo has once again been raised.

In a bid to strengthen the soil and improve air quality, a move was made by Councilor Elaine Sembrano to establish a bamboo sanctuary in Baguio city.

The ordinance aims to utilize forested areas in the city for the planting of bamboo with sites eyed at the city watersheds as well as the Irisan dumpsite.

City planning officer Evelyn Cayat said there are at least 10 percent vacant patches of land outside the forest reserves where bamboo can be placed or even planted in between pine trees.

Studies have shown bamboo, dubbed as the grass of life is one of the best defenses to climate change in terms of soil stability and air quality.
Experts from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources attested to the effectivity of bamboo for slope protection as well as its carbon sequestration capacity.

Maricel Paquitol from the DENR presented to the council the studies on propagating bamboo which has been proven to absorb carbon dioxide better than the traditional Pine tree.

Ed Manda, president of the Philippine Bamboo Association said the move by Sembrano is a welcome development.

“Finally, we got the attention of city officials to adopt bamboo for its greening program to improve air quality in the city. After years of our bamboo advocacy in the city, this move is a welcome development to demonstrate versatility of bamboo for climate change mitigation and adaptation.”

The council during Monday’s regular session discussed the proposal with a few misgivings, as councilor Peter Fianza pointed to a landslide where bamboo was planted and said it poses a danger where the ground is not stable.

“The reason for landslide despite bamboo, is that wrong species were planted on the slope. Giant bamboo is too heavy for that area. Also, for years, the bamboo clumps were not properly managed or harvested,” Manda explained.

Sembrano meanwhile said “we have the support of the president of the Phil. Bamboo Association. But first, the city through the council has to decide whether to accept such project as we what proposed.”
The measure was referred to the Committee on Lands chaired by Councilor Edgar Avila for further study. Maria Elena Catajan
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