Philippines

Feature: DENR promotes bamboos for natural disaster prevention

By Erlinda Olivia P. Tiu
Sunday 12th of February 2012

In Eastern Visayas, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is promoting bamboo cultivation by local government units in areas that have been tagged by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) as landslide-prone.

Planting bamboos in potentially loose soil can serve to hold the earth in place with its dense and wide-spreading system of roots. This can limit erosion, particularly the large-scale sheet that can lead to fatalities and damage to properties.

This is the only tree variety that is best suited to plant along river banks in order to mitigate landslides, DENR regional technical director Manolito Ragub informed.

Ragub encouraged the local government executives to initiate the planting of this specie in their respective areas of jurisdiction.

Disaster pose a threat to areas of virtually every province in the Eastern Visayas region, with more than 2,531 villages considered to be susceptible to landslides. With the high vulnerability of Eastern Visayas to natural disasters, bamboos can help stabilize critical areas against landslides, Ragub said.

The bamboo tree has a wide-spreading root system capable of holding loose soil. In other words, the tree is deep-rooted and best suited against landslides. It was learned that the roots of a bamboo tree are capable of expanding by 25 percent to hold six cubic meters of soil.

Bamboo anchors the soil with its spreading root system thus preventing landslides. Aside from this, bamboo is used as barrier against soil erosion and other environmental services such as protection of water sources though reforestation of watersheds.

Bamboo has many uses. It is a source of livelihood as it is used for construction of inexpensive homes that are also capable of withstanding natural threats, assembling furniture, scaffolding as well as posts in agriculture and aquaculture, weaving mats, making plywood and panels, flooring, among others. Otherwise, its shoots can be harvested for food.

Because of its versatility, the planting of bamboo and other indigenous deep-rooted species in most of the targeted 12, 365 hectares of land across the region, is now in integrated in this year’s implementation of the National Greening Program of the government, RTD Ragub said. (PIA 8)