Bamboos to help boost PH climate change mitigation

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) now promotes bamboo-planting as a strategy to help mitigate climate change.

Bamboo is a grass specie. It thrives well in the in the country like it does in China and Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries. Studies show a hectare of bamboo forest can absorb more than five tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually. CO2 is a  major greenhouse gas (GHGs) that drives  climate change.

At a recent virtual summit on re-imagining, developing and sustaining mining communities with bamboo, DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu said it is “not just economics that makes bamboo attractive for reforestation; bamboo is also ideal for climate change mitigation.” 

Studies show bamboo can sequester more than 5.0 tons of CO2 per hectare annually, he noted. “That’s quite a big reduction in our CO2 emissions.”

Fossil fuel-based power generation and locomotives are among the sources of CO2 emissions which, together with other GHGs accumulate in the atmosphere and trap heat, causing global  temperature to rise and generate changing climate.

The Philippines accounts for less than 1.0 percent of global GHG emissions but is among the countries most at risk and vulnerable to climate change’s impacts. Despite its not being a  major GHG emitter, it still aims to achieve a mitigation target of 75 percent GHG emission reduction and avoidance by 2030.

Experts said climate change impacts are increasing the onslaught of extreme weather events as well as sea level and temperature rise.

According to DENR’s Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB), the Bamboo Plantation Development Project of the expanded National Greening Program (NGP) aims to use bamboo in rehabilitating some one million hectares of denuded uplands in the country’s critical watersheds from 2017 to 2022.

The rehabilitation initiative targets not just climate change mitigation, but also help alleviate poverty while promoting food security, environmental stability, biodiversity conservation.

“The areas to be developed and rehabilitated include critical watersheds, marginal areas, creek lines, riverbanks and areas prone to erosion in order to improve and enhance the natural defenses and resilience of those areas and its adjacent sites against the impacts of climate change,” ERDB said.

Launched in 2011, NGP is the government’s most ambitious reforestation bid. It aims to rehabilitate denuded and degraded land nationwide using billions of various seedlings.

NGP’s original run ended in 2016 but EO 193 series of 2015 extended its implementation to 2028 to cover all remaining unproductive, denuded and degraded forestland in the country, including river banks in Cagayan, Bicol and Marikina.

Cimatu said planting bamboos will help prevent river banks from eroding. The government is rehabilitating Cagayan, Bicol and Marikina rivers to help improve water flow and carrying capacity there, he added.