A lecture-discussion and actual demonstration were conducted during the Bamboo Propagation and Plantation Establishment Training. The participants were also able to tour the Philippine Bambusetum to further experience and appreciate bamboo.

In line with the Philippine Bamboo Month Celebration, the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau-Watershed and Water Resources Research, Development and Extension Center (ERDB-WWRRDEC) through its Technology Transfer, Promotion and Extension Unit (TTPEU) capacitated selected Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-CAR ENGP Staff, and members of the Benguet Local Government Units (LGUs) on Bamboo Propagation and Plantation Establishment last September 21- 22, 2022 in Baguio City.

Twenty (20) participants (6 Females and 14 Males) from the DENR-CAR, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO)-Benguet, Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO)-Baguio, Atok LGU, Tublay LGU, and private stakeholders from Tuba, Benguet attended the two-day training.

Senior Science Research Specialist, Forester Rej Winlove Bungabong welcomed the participants and encouraged them to venture into the bamboo industry not only for its economic benefits but also to help in environmental restoration.

Likewise, Ms. Carissa Collado, Training Specialist I, specified the bamboo’s contribution to the rehabilitation of degraded ecosystems and highly erodible areas, its ability to sequester carbon dioxide and capture heavy metals in soil, bamboo as a source of food, and as raw materials for construction and furniture making.

Forester Fatima Tangan, bamboo consultant and retired researcher, served as a resource speaker and discussed Bamboo Production as potential source of livelihood and its contribution to environmental rehabilitation. She shared her experiences as a bamboo advocate and discussed the livelihood opportunities of growing bamboo and its demand as a raw material for engineered bamboo products.

She further discussed other characteristics of bamboo being environment friendly, viable as a sustainable construction material in architecture, and cost-effective as it is resilient during typhoons. Also included in her presentation are some of the bamboo end-products marketed locally and internationally.

On the second day, Ms. Collado discussed nursery management (bamboo propagation, preparation of potting media and planting materials), plantation establishment, and management.

On the other hand, Mr. Larry Munoz, TTPEU Staff, and bamboo nursery caretaker rendered an actual demonstration on bamboo propagation and bamboo clump management.

As part of the demo-activity, the participants were tasked to prepare their own propagules using culm and branch-cutting methods. The groups’ output was subjected to critiquing for further improvement of knowledge and skills.

Action planning was also conducted to help participants strategize and organize activities with corresponding timetables for starting bamboo propagation and plantation establishment. Most of the participants identified nursery establishment as their initial activity in preparation for bamboo plantation establishment. Notably, Atok LGU plans on improving their existing bamboo nursery, replacing dead propagules, and propagating more bamboos in preparation for their Arbor Day activity on June 2023. They also planned to visit other Bamboo Plantations in Pangasinan and Nueva Ecija to further enhance their knowledge of bamboo.

PLGU Benguet also aims to produce propagules in their upcoming project on establishing an ecotourism park. Meanwhile, DENR-CAR aimed to propagate at least 300 propagules on Giant Bamboo and Oldham Bamboo, as well as to provide technical assistance to field offices and other local stakeholders on Bamboo propagation and plantation establishment as part of the Enhanced National Greening Program (e-NGP) implementation.

The participants are reminded that the crafted action plan will be subjected to progress tracking by TTPEU to make sure that they will be able to achieve their expected outputs.

This endeavor was able to strengthen collaboration with government and private stakeholders in promoting bamboo technologies and capacitate them to successfully develop bamboo nurseries and plantations. Chamanei Elias, WWRRDEC