Resource potential of bamboo, challenges and future directions towards sustainable management and utilization in Ethiopia

Getachew Desalegn, Wubalem Tadesse


Aim of study: Bamboo, the fastest growing and high yielding perennial plant of the world has more than 1500 species and 1500 versatile socio-economic uses and ecological services. Ethiopia has two indigenous bamboo species namely Yushania alpina and Oxytenantheria abyssinica, covering about one million ha with a wide distribution. The objective of this paper is to highlight the potential of bamboo resources, challenges including biodeterioration damage, opportunities and future research directions towards its sustainable management and rational utilization.

Area of study: Bamboo resources of Ethiopia

Material and Methods: Reconnaissance survey was done to some parts of the bamboo growing potential areas in Ethiopia besides the literature review.

Main results: The bamboo resource, despite its socio-economic and environmental benefits, currently, in most areas has been under high pressure due to land use changes, bamboo mass- flowering, poor processing with low value addition, and damage by biodeteriorating agents (termites, beetles and fungi). The preservative tests on Ethiopian bamboos revealed low natural durability and highlighted the paramount importance of appropriate protection measures such as Tanalith and vehicles used motor oil to increase durability, service life and rational utilization of bamboo-based products and structures as potential alternative construction and furniture material.

Research highlights: Therefore, integrated research and development interventions involving different propagation and managements techniques, harvesting season, processing, value addition including proper seasoning and preservation technologies and marketing are recommended to fill the information and technological gaps on sustainable management and rational utilization of this fast growing and multipurpose bamboo resources in Ethiopia.

Key words: Bamboo; challenges; management; socio-economic and environmental significance; utilization.

Full Text:



Ahmad M, Kamke FA, 2003. Analysis of Calcutta bamboo for structural composite materials: surface characteristics. Wood Science and Forest Products. Springer-Verlag. Wood Sci Technol 37 (2003): 233-240.

Arsema A, 2008. Value chain analysis for bamboo originating from Shedem Kebele, Bale Zone. MBA. Faculty of Business and Economics, School of Graduate Studies, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia.

Bowyer J, Howe J, Guiller P, Fernholz K, 2005. Bamboo flooring. Environmental sliver bullet or faux savior? Dovetail partners, INC.

Demissew S, Tesfaye D, Kassahun B, Mehari A, Yared K, Negash E, Sintayehu E, 2011. Mass flowering and death of bamboo: a potential threat to biodiversity and livelihoods in Ethiopia. Journal of Biodiversity and Environmental Sciences (JBES). Vol. 1, No. 5, pp: 16-25.

Dransfield S, Widjaja EA, 2004. Bamboos. The overstory number 137. 1st World Congress of Agroforestry. 27 June- 02 July, 2004.

Ensermu K, Tamrat B, Alemayehu G, Gebremedhin H, 2000. A socio-economic case study of the bamboo sector in Ethiopia: An analysis of the production-to-consumption system, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Getachew D, Melaku A, 2012. Increasing service life through controlling biodeterioration damage and rational utilization of bamboo species culms in Ethiopia as construction and furniture material. In: Forestry and Forest Products in Ethiopia: Technologies and Issues. Wubalem Tadesse, Getachew Desalegn and Abraham Yirgu (Eds). Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Getachew D, Wubalem T, 2004. Socio-economic importance and resource potential of Non-timber forest products of Ethiopia. In: Genetic conservation of Non-Timber Forest Products in Ethiopia (Wuablem Tadesse and Mabboga, eds). Proceedings of the First National Workshop on Nontimber forest products in Ethiopia. 5-6 April 2004, Addis Ababa, Berhanena Selam Printing Enterprise, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. pp: 13-36.

Ghavami K, 2001. Cement composites reinforced with bamboo and Vegetable fibers. In: Key note lecture "first international conference on concrete and development". 30 April-3 May 2001, Tehran, Iran.

Hall JB, Inada T, 2008. Sinarundinaria alpina (K.Schum.) CS Chao & Renvoize. In: Louppe D, Oteng-Amoako AA & Brink, M (eds.), Plant Resources of Tropical Africa 7(1). Timbers 1. PROTA Foundation, Wageningen, Netherlands/ Backatyus Publishers, Leiden, Netherlands/ CTA, Wageningen, Netherlands. pp: 508-512.

INBAR (International Network for Bamboo and Rattan), 2010. Study on utilization of lowland bamboo in Benishangul Gumuz Region, Ethiopia.

Inada T, Hall JB, 2008. Oxytenanthera abyssinica (A Rich.) Munro. In: Louppe D, Oteng-Amoako AA & Brink M (eds.). Plant Resources of Tropical Africa 7(1). Timbers 1. PROTA Foundation, Wageningen, Netherlands/ Backatyus Publishers, Leiden, Netherlands/CTA, Wageningen, Netherlands. pp. 412-415.

Kassahun E, 2000. The indigenous bamboo forests of Ethiopia: An overview. Ambio, vol 29 No 8. pp: 518-521. Allen Press on behalf of Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Kigomo BN, 2007. Guidelines for growing bamboo. KEFRI guideline series: No 4. Kenyan Forestry Research Institute. Nairobi, Kenya.

LUSO CONSULT, 1997. Study on sustainable bamboo management: Second Interim Report. Technical cooperation (GTZ). Eschborn, Germany.

Maclachlan M, 2002. Manual of Highland Trees and Shrubs. Revised and expanded. Paper for the development of "dega" areas in Region 3, SIM Forestry Study Project, Injibara, Awi Zone, Region 3, Ethiopia.

Melaku A, Negussie J, Brhanu O, 2005. Oxytenantheria abyssinica bamboo stems as reinforcement steel bar in concrete. Ethiopian Journal of Natural Resources. 2005. 7(1): 95-109.

Phillips S, 1995. Poaceae (Gramineae). In: Edwards S & Hedberg I (eds.), Flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea, Volume 7, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Uppsala, Sweden. pp: 3-6.

Rao AN, Rao VR (eds.), 1998. Bamboo- conservation, diversity, ecogeography, germplasm, resource utilization and taxonomy. Proceedings of training course cum Workshop, Kunming and Xishuanbanna, Yunnan, China.

Salam K, Deka NKR, 2007. Training manual on nursery raising, commercial plantation, preservation and primary processing of bamboo. Cane and Bamboo Technology Centre, India.

Sastry C, 2004. Bamboo and human development. Development express. Canadian International Development Agency: Policy Branch. Canada Communication Group. Canada.

Tesafaye Hunde, 2006. Status, distribution and biology of bamboo resources in Ethiopia. Paper presented at Forum for Environment public meeting, Addis Ababa.

Wong KM, 2004. Bamboo the amazing grass. A guide to the diversity and study of bamboos in Southeast Asia. Rimba Ilmu Botanic Garden, Institute of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Malaya.

Yigardu M, Mengistie K, 2009. Status of bamboo resource development, utilization and research in Ethiopia: a review, Vol.11(1): 63-81. Ethiopian Journal of Natural Resources. Ethiopian Society of Soil Science, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

DOI: 10.5424/fs/2014232-03431