THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) reported that more than 14,600 hectares of bamboo plantations have been established in Central Luzon since 2012, through the Enhanced National Greening Program (E-NGP).
The DENR said this is part of the bid to rehabilitate degraded forest areas and stabilize river banks in the region.
Known as the "poor man's lumber," bamboo has grown to be a "green gold" resource because of its increasing value in global economy and its sustainability as among the fastest-growing and versatile forest products in the country.
In fact, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu eyes bamboo species as an effective resource to rehabilitate degraded forestlands, and likewise promotes the development of sustainable bamboo plantations for the wood industry.
According to studies, there are 62 bamboo species in the Philippines, where 21 of these are considered endemic to the country.
Four bamboo species are planted in E-NGP sites in Central Luzon, including the Bayog (Bambusa blumeana variety Luzonensis), Kawayan Tinik (Bambusa blumeana), Kawayan Kiling (Bambusa vulgaris) and Giant Bamboo (Dendrocalamus giganteus).
Aside from its extensive use in construction and handicraft industry, bamboos play a vital role in developing disaster-resilient communities by rebuilding eroded soil and stabilizing critical areas against landslides.
Bamboos also help in mitigating the impacts of climate change and global warming by absorbing high amount of carbon dioxide and emitting high level of oxygen.