Dr P G Latha giving away saplings
Bamboo planting
Dr P J Mathew addressing the delegates
Mr B Gopakumar on bamboo propagation
Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute
18th September 2012
Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute (JNTBGRI), Palode, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India, celebrated the World Bamboo Day on 18th September 2012 with fervor and enthusiasm. Following were the programmes.
1. Education programme for:
A. One batch of 25 BSc students & their teachers
B. Biodiversity Management Committee of Peringammala Panchayath (local self Government)
C. Three NGOs
2. Demonstrations:
A. Bamboo propagation and planting, conducted by scientists and technical staff of JNTBGRI
B. Bamboo craft making by traditional craftsmen
3. Sapling distribution:
Inaugural distribution of Bambusa pallida seedlings from a clump in the Bambusetum
4. Bamboo planting ceremony
5. Bamboo identification contest
The programme was held in the Bambusetum, under the beautiful canopy of bamboo clumps. Seventy participants including students and members of three NGOs took part. They included:
1 Botany Graduate students from Iqbal College, Peringammala
2 Upper primary Students and teachers from SN UP school, Kollayil
3 Biodiversity Management Committee of Peringammala Panchayath (local self Government)
4 Members from Kerala Sastrasahitya Parishath, Palode
5 Fighters Eco-Club, Nanniyode
The function started at 10 am. Dr P G Latha, Director, JNTBGRI delivered an inaugural address. She explained in detail the significance of JNTBGRI Bambusetum. It is the largest and the best scientifically maintained Bambusetum in India harbouring 69 species spread out in an area of 16.28 acres. She made the inaugural distribution of the seedlings of Bambusa pallida to the participants (please see details of the species at the end).

Dr P J Mathew, Head, Plant Genetic Resources Division, JNTBGRI explained the history of this Bambusetum and how this has grown into such a level during the last 25 years. He praised the dedicated efforts of the Bamboo Biology group and said that this would be a source for future bamboo research and India.

Dr K C Koshy, Scientist and leader of Bamboo Biology group, JNTBGRI, spoke on the general aspects of bamboo, its systematics, distribution, economic uses and its potential in the modern world as a biodegradable material. He explained various services offered through the Bambusetum. The Bambusetum functions as a demo plot for farmers to understand the qualities of each species before they select the suitable one for cultivation as per their need. Saplings of various species are being provided from the Bambusetum. Living collections help taxonomists study them at close quarters. Easy access to species and samples attract researchers from other scientific fields thus paving way for interdisciplinary studies on bamboos. Bamboo clumps favour growth of a variety of organisms such as fungi, lichens, mushrooms, slugs, snails and ants, opening opportunities for studying such groups.

Demonstration of bamboo weaving by traditional communities was the cynosure of the programme. Six traditional bamboo craft workers from Kani and Paraya tribal communities demonstrated their weaving skill which was well appreciated by young and old participants. The baskets, mats etc made by them were purchased by the participants.

Demonstration on bamboo propagation and planting conducted by Mr B. Gopakumar and K. Asokachandran Nair included the traditional offset planting, seed planting, improvised offset size reduction, tiller separation, culm and branch cuttings, layerings etc.
As a mark of the day, a species collected by Mr. N. Salahudeen from Arunachal Pradesh was planted by Dr. P. J. Mathew, in presence of participants.

The student participants enthusiastically participated in the bamboo identification contest.

During the feedback session participants expressed their desire to involve in such workshops and follow up programmes in future. The programme ended at 1.30 pm and thereafter participants joined for lunch.
About the bamboo species distributed
Bambusa pallida Munro is distributed in North East India, Myanmar, Laos and Thailand. The species was introduced to JNTBGRI Bambusetum from Forest Research Institute, Dehra Dun on 17.9.1988. This clump flowered after 23 years of its introduction and set seeds. Seedlings raised were distributed to farmers, NGOs and visitors.
Dr K C Koshy
Scientist E2
20 September 2012