Quest for an appropriate bamboo species in tropical homegardens – Can Dendrocalamus stocksii (Munro) fit the bill?
Quest for an appropriate bamboo species in tropical homegardens - Can Dendrocalamus stocksii (Munro) fit the bill?wca2014-1134 Syam Viswanath 1,*Ajay D. Rane 2Sowmya Chandramouli 1Srinivasa Rao 1 1Tree Improvement and Genetics, Institute of Wood Science and Technology, Bangalore, 2Dr.Balasaheb Sawant Konkan Krishi Vidhya Peeth, Dapoli, India
India has a rich diversity in bamboo with 23 genera and 130 species. In recent times there has been an emphasis on bamboo cultivation in private lands by National Bamboo Mission, Govt. of India. Farmers in peninsular India are generally reluctant to adopt bamboo in agroforestry practices unlike in North-East India. Though several bamboo species are found in Peninsular India, these are mostly difficult to manage due to excessive branching pattern, distorted shape or thorny habit. Therefore, we initiated a quest for an appropriate species and narrowed down to Dendroclamus stocksii (Munro).The reasons behind the choice of the species and the likelihood of its acceptance in tropical homegardens in peninsular India is discussed.
D. stocksii is naturally distributed in Central Western Ghats, in Karnataka, Goa, Kerala and Maharashtra. It is a strong, solid and thornless bamboo that can attain a height of 10 m, diameter of 2.5 – 6.0 cm and internodal length of 15-29 cm. Presently, it remains confined to the coastal tracts where it is cultivated in homesteads, and in farm and community lands as live fences and/or block plantations. Multi-location trials have shown that this species performs well in humid, sub-humid and semi-arid zones, which expands the scope for its cultivation across peninsular India. On-farm trials have shown success in intercropping with Ipomea batatas, Eleusine coracana and Curcuma longa. Larger culms (>4 cm diameter) has demand in furniture and construction sectors while smaller culms (<4 cm diameter) find use in agricultural implements, handicrafts, fencing material, etc. In a few villages in Maharashtra, cultivation of this species is a major source of income and livelihood.The species also has an ideal ideotype for agroforestry. However, large-scale adoption is hampered by non-availability of planting stock. Lack of viable seeds and scalability issues in macropropagation techniques have led to the nascent steps in micropropagation protocol development. There is also an immense potential for improving species through selection and breeding programs.