CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- The Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (Pamcham) called on Tuesday for the simultaneous planting of trees and bamboo groves seen as one of the best ways in sequestering carbon emissions in the environment which in turn aggravate global warming.

Pamcham president Rene Romero told Sun.Star Pampanga that bamboo presents an enormous contribution to carbon emissions. He said that planting bamboo propagules (seeds) and trees can help the environment in a lot of ways.

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Romero said that they are urging local government units in reinforcing dikes and river barriers with trees and bamboo. He said that bamboo is very effective in preventing slope erosion and barrier breach.

Romero said that bamboo, which is a substitute for timber by the scientific community, is important to socio-economic development and the ecology which is seemingly being neglected and ignored. Bamboo reduces carbon sink. It is otherwise known as a "carbon sequester" as a hectare of bamboo plantation sequesters 12 tons of carbon dioxide each year. As a watershed protection, Romero said a bamboo plant typically binds six cubic meter of soil. It yields six times more cellulose than the fast growing pine tree.

Bamboo has a wide range of uses from shoots to its rhizomes. Shoots are used as food source. China's international trade in bamboo shoots is worth more than $ 150 million a year according to Romero. The array of items that can be made out of the different parts of the bamboo are bags, lampshade, carvings, charcoal and charcoal production, cosmetics, industrial vinegar; furniture, flooring; curtains, mats, carpets, woven articles, handicrafts, chopsticks, bamboo pole, clothing, brooms, medicines, juice among others.

“Trees are also important. We need to develop tree groves around major cities of the provinces to better address carbon emissions,” Romero said. Romero added that the local government units wanting to explore bamboo propagation may coordinate with Pamcham or the Provincial Bamboo Development Council (PBDC). He said that carbon emissions would be greatly addressed with the use of tree planting programs along with bamboo propagation.

Romero added that the bamboo propagation program is also a potential source of livelihood. Bamboo, the so called "grass of hope," grows more rapidly than trees as much as 400 millimeters or 15 inches per day. With a maturity of four to five years, multiple harvests is expected every second year up to 120 years.

Based on reports, China's bamboo industry production was valued at $0.6 billion in 1990 with an annual increasing trend that reached $6.3 billion in 2005. China's bamboo product exports amounted to $170 million in 1990 to $950 million in 2005.