Overview Objectives

After harvesting, fungal attack and the attentions of the powder-post beetle can cause damage to the product, particularly if the harvested culms contain starch. However, the starch content varies during the year. Harvesting when starch content is low will help minimise post-harvest losses, and research is needed to find out when this happens. The depletion of tropical forest reserves in the Philippines has caused a decline in wood production there, and an increase in the import of wood products. Part of this trade deficit can be alleviated and further deforestation prevented by substituting wood with bamboo. This is particularly important in poorer regions of the Philippines where the plant’s shoots have the potential to improve human nutrition. The project is concentrating on maintaining and improving the productivity of existing bamboo stands through informed management, emphasising the production of constant high quality shoots for consumption, high productivity in managed plantations, and rehabilitating degenerated stands.

Project Background and Objectives

Annual world trade in bamboo is worth about US$4.5 billion (not including subsistence use). More than 80 per cent of the 1200 bamboo species, and most of the area in which bamboo grows, is in South and Southeast Asia. Only one species exists naturally in Australia and this needs further investigation for its plantation and food potential. The tall, straight bamboo stalks, known as culms, are used for timber or for paper pulping, while the fresh shoots are edible and widely used in some Asian cuisines. Newer uses are also being found, such as bamboo charcoal. Bamboos also offer good control of erosion on steep tropical land. Harvesting culms must be carefully managed. Inappropriate exploitation (for example, over-harvesting, especially of young culms) has depleted stands and resulted in a declining supply of timber in some places - particularly the Philippines.

Progress Reports (Year 1, 2, 3 etc)

The year 2000 was a “mixed-bag” year for the Plant Sciences Group, with important and well recognised research advances along a number of fronts, but with disappointment in light of the non-resolution of the inadequate research facilities accorded the Group by the host University.

The Group continued to consolidate its position as recognised centre of excellence for research and development in the areas of NIRS non-invasive fruit quality assessment, land rehabilitation and bioremediation, Asian Vegetables, papaya dieback, and molecular assisted plant breeding, while building up further expertise in the newer research areas of waste water re-use and applications for plant tissue culture.

The non-invasive group consolidated during 2000, experiencing a funding gap between a purely research, and an income generating commercial phase. For example internal funding (RAAS, Merit) was denied on the basis that the activity was too applied and should be self supporting. Despite the ensuing staff discontinuity, the project has survived, and pilot commercial activity saw NIR sorted sweet melons sold in Woolworths. The non-invasive group also moved effort into new crop species, including citrus and stone fruit. Thought should be given for a mechanism to financially support a select few projects through the commercialisation process, if CQU were to develop a portfolio of commercialised research.

The plant ecophysiology and conservation group expanded its research into green energy production via the funding support from the Queensland Sustainable Energy Innovation Fund. The research in phytoremediation/phytomining is strengthened with the support of “Phytolink Australia Pty Ltd”. The focus in 2000 included consolidation of research into fewer target areas, seeking funding from competitive grants (e.g. ARC) and publication of results from past research.

Research on Asian vegetables resulted in completion of a project on Chinese waterchestnut with an associated published book summarising many of the practical outcomes, and enhancement of the national network of researchers on Asian vegetables. A number of draft publications are in process in anticipation of a flurry of final reports and referred publications in 2001. An invitation to Professor David Midmore and Dr Volker Kleinhenz to contribute to Advances in Agronomy resulted in a landmark article on bamboo which will be published in mid-2001. Requests for assistance in developing protocols for registration of off-label pesticide use for small commercial volume Asian vegetable species was also addressed, in large part by Dr David Gallacher and visiting students from the University of Reading (UK).

Our research on wastewater reuse has attracted much attention in the government (state and federal) and has been generously supported by both. A high profile presentation by Mr Ben Kele and Professor David Midmore at the Xth World Water Congress in Melbourne early in the year raised awareness of the PSG considerably, and the number of test sites within Queensland has increased significantly. A new activity involves the re-use of Stanwell cooling tower waste water for aquaculture and hydroponic production.

Other ongoing projects focussing on water involve alignment of flowering in cereals with optimally available soil moisture, measurement of legume N fixation in water limited environments, approaches to enhance water use efficiency in cotton, and a successfully completed small project using innovative approaches to overcome waterlogging in irrigated annual vegetable crops.

Other ongoing research activities range from the successful development of tissue culture protocols for rapid commercial propagation in pineapple by Ms Poonam Bhatia to equally successful revegetation of the local mariculture centre by Ms Emma Yates, NHT funding continued to support research conservation of local flora.

Overseas research by Professor Midmore on vegetable production and agroforestry in the Philippines continued to be supported by the USAID, and new research cooperation with the USA has been developed by Dr Ashwath and Phytokinetics (Utah, USA).

Funding for new projects starting early 2001 was confirmed in late 2000; one for Asian root crops funded by the RIRDC and prepared by Dr Gallacher and Professor Midmore, and the other on bamboo funded by ACIAR and prepared by Dr Kleinhenz and Professor Midmore.

Notwithstanding the source of the two abovementioned projects, both Drs Gallacher and Kleinhenz left in late 2000 for career-upgrades, the former to Charles Sturt University as a Lecturer in Horticulture and the latter to the Asian Vegetable Research and Development Corporation (Taiwan) as an Associate Scientist. Other staff movements in 2000 included the resignation of Dr Paul Scott during his leave of absence with INRA in Bordeaux, France, the return of Ms Lynelle Vale in August after a one year maternity leave and the departure of Ms Barbara Howard who was covering as Administration Officer for Ms Vale. Ms Karen Simpson was appointed as part time administrative assistant to assist Ms Vale during busy periods. Ms Jodie Guthrie, a PSG Research Officer undertook the molecular biology teaching responsibility nominally accorded to Dr Paul Scott, and Dr Ani Nkang arrived on a sabbatical from Nigeria in August and assisted in the Plant Sciences teaching, CD Development and undertook research on seed germination.

One honours student, Ms Sandrine Mikaela successfully completed her honours project on resource partitioning in mycelia and is now enrolled at CQU for her PhD. Another activity illustrates the close link between PSG staff and undergraduate student activities; the development of an interactive CD Rom for first year Plant Biology teaching. A team of Associate Professor Kerry Walsh, Dr Ani Nkang, and Ms Jan Holland worked with the multimedia unit at CQU to produce a high quality CD particularly relevant to distance students.

Staff and students continued to be in demand for committee and workshop project reviews with Professor David Midmore undertaking project reviews for the International Development Research Centre in Canada and the UN Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research in Vietnam and Associate Professor Walsh for the Australian Wine Research Institute. Staff and students travelled internationally for research and conference involvement, including to the UK (Dr Ashwath), Philippines (Professor Midmore), Brazil (Emma Yates), Hong Kong, USA, Mexico (Professor Midmore), and China (Jodie Guthrie), and Professor Midmore and a group of three PhD students (Mr Yang, Zhu and Ockerby) participated in the combined Australian/NZ Societies of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry meeting in Wellington NZ in late 2000. During the year the PSG attracted visits by a number of high profile politicians and research managers.

The effectiveness and relevance of the PSG is highly dependent upon sufficient financial support, and 2000 saw the group again achieve income of >$1.0 million, of which just over one quarter was earned from CQU. An ARC/RIEF infrastructure was not spent in 2000 due to the uncertainty surrounding the future location of the PSG. The teaching buy-out accorded to Professor Midmore and Associate Professor Walsh ensured that research involvement, project development, and publication writing were effective. Publications in 2000 totalled 36, with 11 in refereed journals, 6 international conference presentations and one book. Many magazine articles were published, and the PSG gained attention in the local, state, national press, radio and TV.

Although on the research side 2001 is looking very promising, with newly funded projects with confirmed commencement in early 2001, and others very close to approval, the major detraction has been, and may continue in the future to be, the lack of a suitable physical “home” for the whole of the PSG. Negotiations for state funding for purchase of the CSIRO Rendal laboratory were put on hold at the end of 2000 due to the call for new state elections, and mixed signals from CSIRO as to the availability of space at the Rendal Laboratory do no engender optimism.

Rehabilitation of existing degenerated stands for production of shoots and timber

In 2001 experiments were established in the Philippines at Burgos, Ilocos Norte, at Cadagmayan Norte, Sta Barbara Iloilo and at Impalutao, Impasugong, Bukidnon, Malaybalay. The experiments at Burgos and Cadagmayan are for the investigation of the rehabilitation of natural stands of Bambusa blumeana, while the experiment at Impalutao is investigating the rehabilitation of a Dendrocalamus asper plantation that was established in 1986 and was previously unmanaged. The 2002 shoot season was the second since experimental treatments were applied in June 2001. The data gathered to date are therefore indicative of the initial effects of the treatments and currently are insufficient to make strong conclusions. The data, however, do show trends of increased shoot production in treatments where clump thinning, fertiliser, mulching and irrigation have been applied, singly or in combination, as compared to unmanaged control treatments.

Maintenance of high productivity of existing plantations for shoot and timber

In 2001 experiments were established in minimally managed plantations in the Philippines at Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU), Batac, Ilocos Norte and at Dumarao, Capiz, Iloilo and in Australia at three sites near Darwin in the Northern Territory and at Belli Park near Eumundi in Queensland. The 2002 shoot season is the second for the Philippine sites and the 2002-2003 shoot season is the first shoot season for the Australian sites since the treatments were fully implemented. Statistical analyses are still to be conducted to determine if there have been significant effects due to the experimental treatments. Statistical analyses of the Philippine data will be conducted as a training activity in mid-2003.

The MMSU experiment consists of 13 treatments applied to 10 year old (at time of experiment set up) B. blumeana. The Micro-Gopher soil moisture profiler system was installed in April 2002 to aid irrigation scheduling. Overall shoot production improved compared with 2001, and there were two shoot production periods: April to May and September to October. The greatest numbers of shoots produced and harvested were recorded for treatments that involved continuous irrigation throughout the year, compared with the least number of shoots produced and harvested in the unmanaged treatment. During March to May, investigation of percentage shoot yield in relation to age of mother culms showed that 55.8% of new shoots emerged from one year old culms and 40.0% emerged from two year old culms. Other data collected includes shoot dimensions, shoot dry matter content, shoot nitrate content and culm elongation rates.

The Dumarao experiment consists of 12 treatments applied to three year old B. blumeana. The irrigation system was installed at the beginning of 2002, therefore, the 2002 shoot season is the first since the irrigation treatments had been implemented. The Micro-Gopher system was set up in February and calibrated in May, 2002. 2002 shoot data showed greatest shoot production was achieved with the treatment consisting of irrigation, fertiliser, mulch and a 4-4-4 culm thinning strategy, while lowest production rates resulted from for the unmanaged treatment and the treatment consisting of fertiliser, mulch, 4-4 culm thinning and no irrigation.

The Northern Territory experiments were established at Coastal Plains Horticultural Research Farm (CPHRF), Middle Point, and at Bamboo Planet Earth and PAL Enterprises properties located near Darwin. The CPHRF experiment consists of D. latiflorus with irrigation and fertiliser treatments applied. The Bamboo Planet Earth experiment consists of D. asper with irrigation, fertiliser and thinning treatments applied. The PAL Enterprises experiment consists of D. latiflorus with irrigation, fertiliser and thinning treatments applied.

All experiments were established on the 3 trial sites before the start of the 2002 dry season. Irrigation systems to satisfy the requirement of the experiments were established and monitoring sites installed in March 2002. After sprinkler flow tests were completed, the irrigation treatments commenced in May 2002. Fertilizer treatments commenced after initial leaf and soil nutrient testing of all sites in October 2001. The planned testing of shoot sap nitrate to correlate with leaf Nitrogen levels was not formally conducted during the 2002/2003 shoot season (some preliminary data were collected), but is set as a priority for next season. The initial thinning of all treatments was done in late 2001 and the diameters of all remaining culms were recorded to test uniformity. Shoot selection to satisfy all thinning treatments was conducted during the 2001/2002 wet season. The first thinning operation to maintain the specified standing culm densities was done in July 2002. Shoot selection was again conducted during the 2002/2003 wet season. Fertilizer and irrigation response data were collected during 2002. The first shoot yield data were recorded during the 2002/2003 wet season.

At the CPHRF site, the 100% fertiliser rate produced more shoots than the 25% rate throughout most of the harvest period. At the PAL Enterprises site, the 200% fertiliser treatment clearly produced many more early shoots and easily surpassed the total yields of the 100% and 25% treatments. Similarly, the 100% treatment outperformed the 25% treatment. At the Bamboo Planet Earth site, the 25%, 100% and 200% fertiliser treatments resulted in respectively greater numbers of shoots from one another. The 100% irrigation treatment yielded greater numbers of shoots than the 50% treatment, and the 2-2-2 culm thinning treatment yielded higher numbers of shoots than the treatments with higher culm density. Shoot weight data was also recorded, which will enable comparison of the effects of the experimental treatments on shoot size.

The experiment at Eumundi, Queensland consists of Bambusa oldhamii planted in 1994 with irrigation, fertiliser and culm selection treatments applied. Establishment of the experiment occurred from August to December 2001, with selection and thinning of the clumps, and installation of the irrigation system and tensiometers. Due to severe drought conditions and insufficient water for irrigation during December 2001 to April 2002, the normal shoot production period for B. oldhamii at this location, it was not possible to commence full irrigation and fertiliser treatments and measurements until the lead-up to and during the 2002-2003 shoot season. To ensure that adequate water supply was available for irrigation treatments, an additional supply line was installed at the site.

Shoot number data, shoot weight and shoot diameter data collected to date are insufficient to make any conclusions about the effects of the treatments. Data from at least two more shoot seasons will be required to discern the effects of the treatments. The main shoot yield trends from the 2002-2003 data are that Treatment 3 (irrigation, fertiliser and late season selection of shoots for timber culms) produced the greatest number of shoots as well as the largest shoots, by weight, while Treatment 6 (unmanaged clumps - no irrigation, no N fertiliser applied and early season selection of shoots for timber culms) produced the least number of shoots.

Two sets of shoots were collected in early 2003 to conduct preliminary measurements of shoot sap nitrate levels to compare with %N in leaf samples. As there were no clear and consistent relationships found between leaf %N and shoot nitrate as measured with the Merck Reflectoquant system, further investigation into the use of the Reflectoquant system for monitoring nitrogen status during the shoot season needs to include larger data sets, comparison with other nitrate measurement methods and consideration of variation of nitrate levels within individual shoots as well as variation between shoots in individual clumps.

Improvement of bamboo timber harvest efficiency and quality

Mean anatomical, chemical, physical and mechanical property data were recorded from B. blumeana (Kawayan tinik) culms collected from the MMSU experiment in Batac, Ilocos Norte. Once analysed, the anatomical properties data (particularly fiber length and mean relative density) will allow determination of the aptitude of the timber, per treatment, for pulp and papermaking.

The mean relative density of 3 year-old kawayan tinik (control) ranged from 0.657-0.727 (X=0.705); 0.518-0.678 (X=0.581) and 0.481-0.697 (X= 0.624) in Block I, II, and III, respectively (please see annual report 2001). In contrast, the relative density of the bamboo culms of the same age from the same block with silvicultural treatments were lower than the control. For blocks I, II, and III mean values ranged from 0.343-0.539 (X= 0.526); 0.36- 0.578 (X= 0.543) and 0.456 - 0.642 (X=0.536) based on the whole culm. Unlike in the control, with complete values from butt, mid and top most samples, bamboo samples with treatment lacked data on some height levels (because of the damage caused by the storm or eaten by rats, some did not have butt or mid portions). However, even comparative relative density evaluation of the butt portion of bamboo culms with treatment showed lower resulting values. Likewise, the strength properties (except for shear properties) of those samples with treatment had lower values compared to values of the samples in the control. The strength properties showed no definite pattern of variation in height, block and treatment.

Database on bamboo production and marketing issues

Negotiations for a staff member (Merlyn N. Rivera) from Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau, College, Laguna are underway, to undertake the study in quantification of the extent of bamboo cultivation in the Philippines and the future opportunities for novel uses of bamboo. The delay was due to the fact that the DENR in 2002 instigated a rapid study, through the person of Dr Felizardo Virtucio, to locate bamboo production zones and their extent as part of a Congressional Hearing into the sustainability of bamboo production. This can be assumed to have been implemented as a response to the increased interest in bamboo promoted by the DENR/ACIAR project. PCARRD has been acting as the formal liaison partner with INBAR and other organisations working on bamboo, and such information will shortly be posted on the CQU www site.

Objective 1: Rehabilitation of existing degenerated stands for production of shoots and timber
In the Philippines, the 2003 shoot season was the third since experimental treatments were applied in June 2001. The data gathered to date are only indicative of the initial effects of the treatments, showing trends of increased shoot production in treatments where clump thinning, fertiliser, mulching and irrigation have been applied, singly or in combination, as compared to unmanaged control treatments. At the Burgos, Ilocos Norte site pole and clump productivity greatly improved indicating the effects of the treatments. The number of shoots left to grow as poles significantly affected the diameter of poles and number of shoots produced per clump. For the experiment in Sta Barbara, Iloilo, statistical analyses made on shoot production and shoot yield indicated no significant difference between treatments applied, though the highest number of shoots was noted under Treatment 5 (Farmer’s practice). For the experiment at Impalutao, Impasugong, Bukidnon, the data so far did not show any clear trend regarding shoot production. Statistical analysis of shoot production data did not show significant differences among treatment means.
Objective 2: Maintenance of high productivity of existing plantations for shoot and timber
The effects of irrigation, cleaning, and fertiliser application in shoot production were not significant but the clumps that received irrigation and fertiliser application had more shoots than those without irrigation and fertiliser. To further verify the effects of the treatments, the number of poles per clump was considered to determine the productivity per clump. The clump productiveness is measured as the Productivity Index (PI). Irrigated clumps with fertiliser, organic matter/mulch application, and with less than or equal to 4-4-4 poles per clump had a significantly higher productivity index indicating clumps can be made productive by limiting the number of poles per clump. In 2002, 95 per cent of the 1-year and 2-year-old poles produced shoots which indicate that the 3-year-old poles are not worthy of keeping for shoot production. The height and diameter development of the poles were measured from shoot stage until the first branch was fully developed. New poles reached their full heights in less than two months. The diameter but not the heights of the poles responded to the treatments.
Analysis of variance of the data gathered on culm production in Dumarao indicated significant differences between treatment means at 1 per cent level. The results however were attributed to the big disparity in the number of culms for Treatment 12 (Control) compared to all other treatments. The 2003 cumulative data on shoot production show an increasing trend for the year covering 2002-2003. The analysis of variance showed significant difference between treatment means at 1 per cent level, hence, differences in the number of shoots produced and the increasing trend may be attributed to the treatments applied. Relating the different variables of the treatments applied (particularly on irrigation and harvesting), with particular reference to the harvesting/cutting cycle, the results are not yet conclusive to recommend which treatment or practice is most appropriate in improving productivity of bamboo clumps in a plantation.
In the Northern Territory research work has been discontinued at the Bamboo Planet Earth site due to withdrawal of the owner from the project and the upcoming sale of the property. Experiments are now confined to D. latiflorus. Experiment activities continued at the other two sites. Experimental activities continued at the Eumundi, Queensland site, including culm harvest in July 2003, measurement of photosynthesis rates, and investigation of the use of the Minolta SPAD chlorophyll meter for monitoring leaf plant nitrogen status. SPAD measurements were also collected for the NT sites.
Objective 3: Improvement of bamboo timber harvest efficiency and quality
Mean anatomical, chemical, physical and mechanical property data were recorded from B. blumeana (Kawayan tinik) culms collected from the MMSU experiment in Batac, Ilocos Norte. The highest relative density (RD) was observed on culms under treatment 12 (cleaning only, no irrigation, mulch, organic matter and fertiliser) and on culms under treatment 2 (dry-no irrigation with mulch, organic matter and fertiliser) with one year and two years silvicultural treatments, respectively.
Objective 4: Market Potentials of bamboo Shoots and Engineered Bamboo
Three regions representing areas where bamboo is widely found [i.e. Region 6 (Iloilo), Region 10 (Cagayan de Oro, Bukidnon), and Region 11 (Davao City, Davao Oriental Compostella Valley)] were visited. Eleven market vendors were interviewed (for market potentials of bamboo shoots) in different wet markets of the three regions. Company owners/bamboo product manufacturers were interviewed for engineered bamboo and other bamboo products. Three informants from the research sector were also interviewed regarding the potentials of bamboo for shoots and engineered products.
Objective 5: Existing and potential demand for bamboo
Bamboo shoots found in the respective wet markets of the three regions were sold to restaurant owners/managers and households. Bambusa blumeana (kawayan tinik) was generally sold in the three regions, while giant bamboo was also sold in the markets of Region 10. Other species of bamboo were also sold in relatively less quantity. The price of bamboo shoots tended to be more expensive during lean months when supply is less. The average buying price of the market vendors from the bamboo shoot growers/harvesters was P13.10 per kg during lean months while only P9.62 per kg is paid during peak months. Several factors (i.e. availability of bamboo areas; technology; perishability; preference of poles over bamboo shoots in plantation development and maintenance of natural stands; favourable environment for growth; season of the year and favourable policy environment) were noted affecting the availability or supply of bamboo shoots. The taste and preference of consumers and sustainability of supply affect the acceptability of bamboo shoots in the market. The prevailing price and availability of other vegetable alternatives or substitutes also affect bamboo shoot acceptability.
Objective 6: Existing and potential demand for engineered bamboo and other bamboo products
Interviews with several owners/bamboo product manufacturers and companies in various parts of the Philippines (particularly in Regions 1, 3, 6 and 10) were conducted. Most of the respondents believe that engineered bamboo products have a good potential in the market in the furniture and construction sectors.

Rehabilitation of existing aged and/or damaged bamboo stands for shoots and timber
Three years ago (in 2001) experiments were established in the Philippines at Burgos, Ilocos Norte, at Cadagmayan Norte, Sta Barbara Iloilo and at Impalutao, Impasugong, Bukidnon, Malaybalay. The experiments at Burgos and Cadagmayan are for the investigation of the rehabilitation of natural stands of Bambusa blumeana, while the experiment in Impalutao is investigating the rehabilitation of a Dendrocalamus asper plantation that was established in 1986 and was previously managed.

The experiment in Sta Barbara, Iloilo (which is situated in the cooperators’ farms) consists of 25 old bamboo clumps of Bambusa blumeana with 5 treatments.

In terms of culm production (growth and yield), treatment 2 (6-6-6-6) had the highest number of culms with an average of 22.4 culms per clump followed closely by Treatment 1 (cutting all 3-year old culms and above) with an average of 21.2. However, given these data, no conclusions nor inferences can be made from the results at this point in time. This can be attributed to the short temporal regime (3 years) to which the experimental clumps were subjected to the different treatments. As such, significant effects of the treatments applied - specifically harvesting treatment –can only be established after the experimental clumps will have undergone at least three (3) cycles of harvesting after the initial result, i.e. next year’s data. This takes into account the fact that Treatment 1 provides for the harvesting of only three-year old culms and above.

Harvesting of bamboo culms was done during the dry season (March-April) to facilitate ease of harvest and avoid/prevent powder-post beetle attack, the number of culms harvested (hereto referred as culm yield) of which were based on the treatments identified (relative to experiment uniformity). Inasmuch as treatments were applied starting the middle of CY 2001, the data gathered may be indicative of the initial effects of these treatments but are still insufficient to make or infer conclusions and recommendations.

The experiment at Impalutao, Impasugong, Bukidnon consists of ten treatments with three replicates. No clear trend regarding shoot production has been observed. However, based on the data gathered for this year, production of shoots increased with an average shoot production per clump of 7.37 as compared to last year’s average shoot production per clump of only 3.8.

Maintenance of high productivity of existing plantations for shoots and timber
In 2001 experiments were established in minimally managed plantations in the Philippines at Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU), Batac, Ilocos Norte and at Dumarao, Capiz, Iloilo. The 2004 shoot season is the fourth for the Philippine sites.

The effects of irrigation, fertilizer treatments and density of culms per clump on the quality of Bambusa blumeana were more noticeable in the third year as the 3-year old culms were harvested for utilization. Initial results indicated that withholding irrigation and fertilizer on the clumps produced smaller poles but tended to be better quality for some specific finished products. The more than three-year observations on the effect of treatments gave us an idea of the changes or no changes in the quality of culms and production of shoots, but the observations need to be continued to confirm previous results.

The Dumarao experiment consists of 12 treatments applied to three year old Bambusa blumeana.

In 2004, the experiment in Dumarao for experimental clumps under Treatment 12 was agreed to subject to harvesting so as not to waste the culms produced by these clumps. As such, it was agreed that all three-year old culms and older shall be cut/harvested. With this, Treatment 12 and Treatment 9 are basically been the same. With the harvesting of 3-year old culms and above for clumps under Treatment 12 starting 2005, will alter the production/yield data, reducing significantly the big disparity in the number of culms among the experimental clumps. Furthermore, significant effects of the treatments applied, specifically harvesting treatment, can only be established after the experimental clumps, have undergone at least three cycles of harvesting, this considering that Treatment 11 has a 2-year cutting cycle, and Treatment 9, provides for the harvesting of only three-year old culms and above.

Shoot production was also monitored in the Dumarao experimental site. Shoot production in Dumarao for the year 2004 averaged 6.83 per clump. Based on the data gathered, early shoot season in the Dumarao site started as early as February and continued until June, with peak emergence during the month of April. The late shoot season started in late July until December for some clumps with the peak in August. This is in contrast to the data for the 2002 shoot count; emergence for year 2003 and 2004 has been observed to be more ‘extensive’ in terms of the period coverage. This may be indicative of the effects the irrigation treatment applied in the site, but still needs further analysis of data to confirm the results.

The 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 shoot seasons were second and third shoot seasons, respectively, for the Australian sites since dates that treatments were fully implemented.

Three experiment sites were originally established near Darwin in the Northern Territory. Prior to the 2003-2004 shoot season, work was discontinued at the Bamboo Planet Earth site (Dendrocalamus asper), due to the property owner’s withdrawal from the project. Shoot data were collected from the two remaining sites (both Dendrocalamus latiflorus) during the 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 shoot seasons. Statistical analysis of 2002-2003 shoot data indicates that some treatments may be significantly affecting shoot yields, however this needs to be confirmed with data from the 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 shoot seasons, the data from which are currently being collated for analysis. Culm length, diameter and weight data were collected from the NT experiments in June 2004 to estimate the effects that the treatments have on timber yield. Clump thinning (culm removal) was conducted in July. Experiment maintenance and data collection activities continued at the Eumundi, Queensland site (Bambusa oldhamii). Culm measurements were recorded when thinning took place in August, to estimate timber yield. As there is no further funding for the Australian experiment sites, it is likely that the 2004-2005 shoot season and the 2005 culm harvest/thinning will be the last.

Improvement of bamboo timber harvest (efficiency and quality)
Mean anatomical, chemical, physical and mechanical property data were recorded from B. blumeana culms collected from MMSU experiment in Batac, Ilocos Norte. The anatomical properties will determine the aptitude of the pole for various application (e.g. furniture, panel boards etc.).
The data for the anatomical, physical and mechanical properties of B. blumeana that had undergone 2-year treatment has been completed. The data for the chemical properties of B. blumeana that had undergone 1- year treatment has also been completed while those that have undergone the 2-year treatment are still in progress. The bamboo poles collected from the experimental site in Mabaling, Ilocos Norte (undergone 3-year treatment) on 15-17 June 2004 have been marked, segregated and kept for property evaluation in 2005 when the budget for the analysis becomes available.

Bamboo database - production and marketing issues
The researchers for this component interviewed forty-three (43) DOT-accredited hotels (deluxe, first class, standard and economy) and 6 restaurants in Metro Manila.
Information on their bamboo shoot consumption, buying prices, and reasons for use or non-use were gathered. Some of these include the menu cycle, type of cuisine, preference of customer, and nationality of clients. Of the hotels surveyed, 19 (44%) used bamboo shoots while 24 (56%) did not. For the restaurants, 4 out of 6 included bamboo shoots in their menu while 2 out of 6 did not.

In Region I where the bamboo project of Dr. Stanley Malab is located, the demand for engineered products has grown through time accordingly. In fact, there had been orders from the Management Association of the Philippine (MAP) to supply the needs of government housing units that will be up for construction. Even a private construction company, the Mega World Condo Builders, has expressed interest in getting their engineered bamboo requirements from Dr. Malab’s group for 200 condominium units to be built by their firm. At least 50% of the condominium’s floor area will be built out of engineered bamboo. However, Dr. Malab and his team are aware of the limitations of the existing machine drier and other necessary equipment such as the thickness and binder sizes to be able to meet the demands of the market.

Some of the products produced in their Dr Malab’s workshop are trays sold at P500 for a set of 4, coaster (big-3 pcs. for P100, small - 5 pcs for P100), tiles at P500/sq. m, trophy at P400-450/pc, plaque at P300-350/pc and rostrum at P5,000-5,500/pc.

The promotion of the products is being done by the research group of Dr. Malab in partnership with Mr. Balbin, a furniture and handcraft manufacturer in Abra. A Memorandum of Agreement had been signed between the DMMSU and Mr. Balbin. The Agreement stipulates that Mr. Balbin will buy the bamboo machines developed by Dr. Malab at a certain cost. In turn, Dr. Malab and his research group will provide the technical know-how in the adoption of the technology. Furthermore, a royalty of 40% from the sales is expected as a benefit by DMMSU (20%) and the research group of Dr. Malab (20%).

Dr. Malab’s research team had provided inputs needed for the computation of the financial and market potentials of engineered bamboo as required in the ACIAR study. However, it was agreed by the group that the computation and analysis will depend on the product to be produced. An estimate of the production cost for a 4 pc. tray was done and this amounted to P401.52. The production cost, raw material requirements and other economic information for the other products are being estimated.

Detailed reports from the Philippines are appended at the end of this proforma.

Australia activities

Objective 1. Define management prescriptions and harvesting technologies for the rehabilitation of existing aged and/or damaged bamboo stands for shoot and pole production

Compilation, review and analysis of data has commenced.

Objective 2. Define management prescriptions for the maintenance of bamboo plantation productivity in terms of high quality timber and shoots

Collection of 2004-2005 shoot season yield data at Qld and NT experiment sites. This was the final shoot season for which data was collected for the project.
Collection of timber biomass data for Qld and NT experiment sites. This was the final culm harvest (thinning) for which data was collected for the project.
Completion activities for experiment sites in NT and Qld.
CQU project leader, CQU research officer and NT DPIFM research officer met with collaborator Durnford Dart at Bamboo Australia, Belli Park Qld to discuss project progress.
Compilation, review and analysis of data has commenced.

Objective 3. Define and improve quality of raw bamboo materials

No planned activities for Australia

Objective 4. Improve the efficiency and quality of bamboo timber usage

No planned activities for Australia

Objective 5. Complete surveys on the economics of growing and processing bamboo

No planned activities for Australia

Philippines activities

Rehabilitation of existing aged and/or damaged bamboo stands for shoots and timber

In 2001, experiments were established in the Philippines at Burgos, Ilocos Norte, at Cadagmayan Norte, Sta Barbara Iloilo and at Impalutao, Impasugong, Bukidnon, Malaybalay. The experiments at Burgos and Cadagmayan are for the investigation of the rehabilitation of natural stands of Bambusa blumeana, while the experiment in Impalutao is investigating the rehabilitation of a Dendrocalamus asper plantation that was established in 1986 and was previously managed.

The experiment in Sta Barbara, Iloilo (which is situated in the cooperators’ farms) consists of 25 old bamboo clumps of Bambusa blumeana with 5 treatments.

In terms of culm production (growth and yield), treatment 2 (6-6-6-6) had the highest number of culms with an average of 22.4 culms per clump followed closely by Treatment 1 (cutting all 3-year old culms and above) with an average of 21.2. However, given these data, no conclusions or inferences can be made from the results at this point in time. This can be attributed to the short temporal regime (3 years) to which the experimental clumps were subjected to the different treatments. As such, significant effects of the treatments applied - specifically harvesting treatment - can only be established after the experimental clumps will have undergone at least three (3) cycles of harvesting after the initial result, i.e. next year’s data. This takes into account the fact that Treatment 1 provides for the harvesting of only three-year old culms and above.

Harvesting of bamboo culms was done during the dry season (March-April) to facilitate ease of harvest and avoid/prevent powder-post beetle attack, the number of culms harvested (hereto referred as culm yield) of which were based on the treatments identified (relative to experiment uniformity). Inasmuch as treatments were applied starting the middle of CY 2001, the data gathered may be indicative of the initial effects of these treatments but are still insufficient to make or infer conclusions and recommendations.

The experiment at Impalutao, Impasugong, Bukidnon consists of ten treatments with three replicates.

Harvesting of culms was done before the onset of the rainy season. All culms marked to be cut were harvested and measured.

No clear trend regarding shoot production has been observed. However, based on the data gathered for this year, production of shoots increased with an average shoot production per clump of 7.37 as compared to last year’s average shoot production per clump of only 3.8.

Data from this trial have been used by Mr Graham Cox, a businessman with connections to potential bamboo markets, to assist in the development of a cost:benefit analysis of a proposed giant bamboo plantation to be established on the foothills of Mt Kitanglad in Mindanao.

Maintenance of high productivity of existing plantations for shoots and timber

In 2001 experiments were established in minimally managed plantations in the Philippines at Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU), Batac, Ilocos Norte and at Dumarao, Capiz, Iloilo. The 2005 shoot season is the fifth for the Philippine sites.

With the results and problems encountered in the past years the activities in Ilocos Norte focused on the improvement and quality of timber usage due to the following reasons:

a. the irrigation treatments were not continued since the late part of 2004 due to the damaged of the source of water and improper calibration of the micro-gopher instrument
b. shoot production did not significantly improve for B. blumeana both in the managed plantation and natural stand

Therefore, the 2005 activities focused on the evaluation of the effects of silvicultural treatments on the basic pole and culm properties for the manufacture of engineered bamboo products. This activity is in response to the recommendation that the study should concentrate on pole production.

The ACIAR funded bamboo project evaluation of quality of the poles for the manufacture of engineered bamboo products was in collaboration with the project of MMSU and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) on the pilot commercial production of bamboo tiles and laminates. The MMSU-DOST project set some minimum requirements of raw bamboo materials for various products, especially engineered bamboo, such as culm thickness and diameter of poles. Considering the requirements of the bamboo tile industry the ACIAR project focused its experiments and observations on the minimum requirements for culm quality. This direction was in line with the basic objective of improving quality of poles for various uses. The height and diameter of poles, and culm thickness of the harvested 4-year old poles, were recorded and analyzed as affected by irrigation, fertilizer application, and density/spacing.

The density of 4-4-4 [refers to the number of culms/year (i.e. for the first three years) retained in the clump] and lesser number of poles per clump such as 3-3 , and 3-3-3 poles per clump treatment produced poles that met the 1.5 cm culm thickness. In order to optimize production of tiles as affected by the treatments the 4-4-4 spacing is recommended as a result of higher number of poles that can be harvested compared to the 3-3 , and 3-3-3 poles per clump. The costs of inputs for the maintenance of the clumps and harvesting of poles were recorded to determine added cost to produce the desired quality of poles for specific products. The results of the experimentation indicate that the desired quality of poles may not be attained without fertilizer application and proper control of density.

The Dumarao experiment consists of 12 treatments applied to three year old Bambusa blumeana.

Starting January 2005 and as had been discussed and agreed upon with Dr. David Midmore during his visit in 2004, experimental clumps under Treatment 12 was subjected to harvesting so as not to waste the culms produced by these clumps. As such, it was agreed that all three-year old culms and older shall be cut/harvested. With this, Treatment 12 and Treatment 9 had been basically the same. With the harvesting of 3-year old culms and above for clumps under Treatment 12 starting 2005, will alter the production/yield data, reducing significantly the big disparity in the number of culms among the experimental clumps. Furthermore, significant effects of the treatments applied, specifically harvesting treatment, can only be established after the experimental clumps, have undergone at least three cycles of harvesting, this considering that Treatment 11 has a 2-year cutting cycle, and Treatment 9 (and Treatment 12), provides for the harvesting of only three-year old culms and above.

Shoot production was also monitored in the Dumarao experimental site. Data gathering on shoot production was regularly done to monitor the trends on their seasonality. This could later on be correlated to the presence or availability of water (soil moisture regime) as previously theorized as the limiting factor to shoot production. Shoot production in Dumarao for the year 2005 averaged 4.72 per clump , with the highest average produced by experimental clumps subjected under Treatments 7 at 7.0 shoots produced per clump, while the lowest average was Treatment 4 at 1.83 shoots per clump. Experimental clumps under treatment 1 (Control) showed consistently high shoot production (at 6.17 per clump) among other treatments.

Improvement of bamboo timber harvest (efficiency and quality)
Mean anatomical, chemical, physical and mechanical property data were recorded from B. blumeana culms collected from MMSU experiment in Batac, Ilocos Norte. The anatomical properties will determine the aptitude of the pole for various applications (e.g. furniture, panel boards etc.).

The ranges of relative density (RD) in 1-, 2- and 3-year-old Bambusa blumeana were 0.40 - 0.50; 0.46-0.58 and 0.49-0.60 . Relative density consistently increased from butt to top and from 1 to 3- year-old. This conformed to the findings of Espiloy et al. (1986).

A large difference in RD value between blocks per treatment was also observed. The poles which were dislodged/broken/damaged exhibited abnormally lower RD.

The ranges of culm diameter of the bamboo poles collected and used in the study ranged from 38.88 - 89.59 mm, 32.17-82.47 mm, and 41.15 - 89.57 mm while culm wall thickness from 14.80 - 74.01 mm, 16.76 - 66.41 mm and 15.59 - 70.47 mm at 1-, 2- and 3-year-old respectively.

The most number of culms and new shoots emerged from treatments 9 (keep all culms but harvest all 3 years old, continues irrigation with mulch, organic matter and fertilizer) and 10 (4-4-4 culms, continues irrigation with mulch, organic matter and fertilizer). The data will be discussed with Dr. Stanley Malab before conducting the correlation analysis between the number of culms and new shoots, and basic properties.

Survey on the Economics of Growing and Processing of Bamboo
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The data generated from the market vendors as key informants for the bamboo shoot in the different selected wet markets in regions 1,6 and 10 were tabulated and analyzed.
On the other hand, the primary data gathered from the key informants in eight industries visited for the engineered bamboo products was tabulated and summarized. These industries include Jireh Industries, FormaPly Industries, Inc., Trayline Corporation, Balbin’s Quality Furniture, Asia Rattan, Kabagay Handicraft, Bamboo International and CM Bamboo Craft. These are located in Bukidnon, Quezon City, Rizal, Abra, Pampanga, La Union and Iloilo, respectively.

Various steps are undertaken before a bamboo pole is turned into an engineered product. The first step is in the process air drying, then followed by boiling (which is optional only during rainy season when the starch content in the pole is high), machine drying, sorting, pole cutting, width sizing, thickness sizing, gluing and clumping, curing, sanding and polishing.

Some of the products produced at MMSU workshop in collaboration with Dr. Malab’s project are trays sold at P500 for a set of 4, coaster (big - 3 pcs for P100, small - 5 pcs for P100), tiles at P500/sq m, trophy at P400-P450/pc, Plaque at P300-P350/pc and rostrum at P5,000 - P5,500/pc.

Accordingly, the demand for the engineered products has grown through time. In fact, there had been orders from the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) to supply the needs of the Pag-ibig housing units for construction. Even the representatives from Megaworld Condo Builders have asked Dr. Malab’s group on when was the earliest time they can provide the engineered bamboo requirements for some 200 condo units for construction by the company. However, there is a limited capacity of the existing machine drier at the MMSU. It cannot readily meet the needs of the thickness sizer and width sizer in the assembly line and is expected to cause supply in between the bamboo slats.

Dr. Malab’s team had provided to the project team with some information needed in the computation of the financial and market potentials of engineered bamboo as required in the ACIAR study. He has agreed to give the other necessary information as soon as his team has come up with the estimates.

In a recent forum attended by the project team in Cagayan de Oro City, a producer of engineered bamboo from Valencia, Bukidnon, raised an issue on the need for a wider bamboo/wood sanding equipment. What he has at the moment is a 14 inch sander. However, to cope with the needs of the market and to operate, at an efficient level, a much wider sander, about 30 inches, is preferred. He informed FPRDI representatives regarding this need. He also requested to be linked with the DTI regarding some of the furniture shops which had closed down but has some similar functional equipment that he can purchase.
The project team has also met with the bamboo team from ERDS Region 10 to brief them on the economic information needed from their project. The cost data forms to be used in taking note of the costs were also discussed with them. Other coordination activities with the ERDS Region 6 bamboo team had also been done.
The information needed for the final analysis is about 85 % complete. What is lacking are some of the economic information from the bamboo production activities as pursued in the different trial sites in Regions 1, 6 and 10. As soon as these have been retrieved from the project leaders from the said regions, final tabulation and analysis will be done to draw the conclusions and recommended actions that need to be taken.
Some of the problems undertaken in the pursuit of the study included the difficulty of obtaining information in some of the restaurants and hotels interviewed. Due to the relative busy schedule of the key informants such as managers and chefs, several appointments have to be set. This was addressed by making several phone calls explaining in detail the purpose of the interview and confirming the date and time of the interview before actually going to the specific venue of the meeting. Another problem was the differences in the units of measurement reported by the respondents which necessitate conversion during processing of data. There are times when responses are in kilos or in pieces as in the case of bamboo shoots. This was addressed by forwarding follow up questions such as what is the average number of kilos per piece of bamboo shoot. The data obtained from the key informants representing the bamboo shoot market vendors, hotel and restaurant managers and chefs, engineered bamboo producers and traders have been tabulated and analyzed. The findings tend to show that there exists a market demand for engineered bamboo and while these opportunities are open, its susceptibility to insect attacks in spite of chemical treatment cause some hesitation on the part of foreign and local buyers. Even the nodes on the poles somehow affect the designs of some products which make the buyers pause and think. On the other hand, DOT-accredited hotels and restaurants use bamboo shoots to a limited extent. The preference of their customers, the nationality of guests, and the menu prepared by the hotel or restaurant chef are some of the factors affecting the consumption for bamboo shoots.
These findings imply that joint efforts in terms of the provision of support mechanisms (market, information and technology, credit) by all concerned agencies and entities must be drawn together to address the concerns raised on the bamboo shoots and engineered bamboo products.
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Project ID
HORT/2000/127
Project Country
Inactive project countries
Commissioned Organisation
Central Queensland University, Australia
Project Leader
Professor David Midmore
Email
d.midmore@cqu.edu.au
Phone
07 4930 9770
Fax
07 4930 9255
Collaborating Institutions
Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory, Australia
Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development, Philippines
Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia, Australia
Project Budget
$549,476.00
Start Date
01/01/2001
Finish Date
31/12/2003
Extension Start Date
01/01/2004
Extension Finish Date
31/03/2007
ACIAR Research Program Manager
Mr Les Baxter