Mixed plantations as an alternative to monocultureplantations are
tried to improve productivity, sustainability and greater carbon
sequestration in the early stages of the plantations. Examples include
Acacia with Eucalyptus and teak with Leucaena.
spl~hing and erosive surface runoff. Additionally, vast networks of
cover crop roots help to anchor the soil in place and increase soil
porosity, creating suitable habitats for soil macrofauna.
Crop residue is important for replenishment of soil organic matter
and can efficiently arrest the decline of soil organic matter.
Allelopathic studies using four cover crops, viz., Pueraria javanica,
Calapogonium mucunoides, Centrosma pubescens, Mucuna
bracteata, showed that teak plants have no inhibitory effect on these
cover crops. However, selection of the cover crop should be based on
the growth habit and tolerance to shade conditions.
Enhancing soil carbon pool through improved soil and crop
management is a prudent strategy for sustainable management of soil,
water and environment resources. A quantification of these effects is
required to evaluate soil carbon sequestration, environmental
improvement and nation's welfare. As Mahatma Gandhi put it: " A
technological society has two choices: first it can wait until
catastrophic failures expose systemic deficiencies, distortion and
,," " , c. ..c.
self-deceptions. Secondly, a culture can provide social checks and
balances to correct for systemic distortion prior to catastrophic
"Chemieal'feHiliz~rshave b(jen the fuel 'for green revolutioll-during
the last few decades, boosting plant growth and yield. Nevertheless,
it took several years to realize that chemical fertilizers are a serious
threat to soil quality by deteriorating organic matter and soil
structure, diminishing earthworm activity and proliferating weeds.
Judicious integration of organic and inorganic manuring practices
has shown promising results in sustaining productivity and
increasing soil carbon pool in the long run . K. Smitha John and M. P. Sujatha
Soil Science Department, SFM Division
Global warming is one of the most devastating problems of the new
millennium. The Kyoto Protocol is the first step towards an
international strategy to limit greenhouse gas emissions which in
turn helps to mitigate the global climate change. It commits the
member countries to reduce the emissions of six green house gases
from these countries by approximately 5 per cent below 1990 levels
within the Protocol's fIrst commitment period (2008-12). The three
key mechanisms of the Protocol include international emissions
trading between countries, joint implementation of emissions
reducing projects and the clean development mechanism (CDM).
The CDM has two purposes (a) to assist developing countries in
achieving sustainable development, thereby contributing to the
ultimate objective of the protocol and (b) to assist developed
countries in achieving compliance with part of their quantified
emission limitation and reduction commitments.
A decision was made in Marrakech Conference of Parties 7 (200 1),
to include the afforestation and reforestation as the only eligible
activities in the CDM. According to this, "Forest" is a minimum area
of land of 0.05-1.0 hectares with tree crown cover (or equivalent
stocking level) of more than 10-30 per cent with trees with the
potential to reach a minimum height of 2-5 metres at maturity in
situ). Afforestation and reforestation CDM includes establishment of
woodlots on communal lands, reforestation of marginal areas with
native species, e.g. riverine areas, steep slopes, around and between
existing forest fragments, (through planting and natural
regeneration), new large-scale industrial plantations, establishment
of biomass plantations for energy production and the substitution of
fossil fuels, small-scale plantations by land owners, introduction of
trees into existing agricultural systems (Agroforestry) and
rehabilitation of degraded areas through tree planting or assisted
Role ofbamboos in CDM
The giant grass bamboo which is a C4 plant has significant advantage
over other biomass resources due to its species diversity, vigorous
growth, early establishment, adaptability to various soil and climatic
conditions, short harvesting period, sustainability in yield and its
multifarious uses. Hence, it maybe regarded as the best among the
biomass resources. Bamboo plantations can playa significant role in
CDM as itcan fulfill all the criteria laid out for a CDM project and is
suitable for all the type of aforesaid land uses. In order to qualify for
consideration as CDM, any project activity should lead to real,
measurable and long term GHG mitigation. Moreover, it should
contribute to the social, economic, technological and environmental
Bamboo plantations are found to be suitable for any type of land uses
like clear felled forest lands, degraded lands, boundaries of
agricultural lands and non-agricultural lands and other common
property resources like coastal areas, road sides, canal banks, railway
lines etc. Bamboo being very fast in growth produces enormous
amount ofbiomass within a very short time. Commercially important
species usually mature in 4-5 years and thereafter harvesting is
possible every year. The possibility of annual selective harvesting
without damaging the total stock and environment makes it a unique
carbon sink compared to other woody crops.
Bamboo has several advantages over tree species in terms of
sustainability and carbon fixing capacity. In a compilation done by
IN AFFORESTATION / REFORESTATION CDM
(Clean Development Mechanism)
INBAR from the available studies conclude that bamboo biomass
and carbon production may be 7-30% higher compared to the fast
growing wood species. For instance tropical Bambusa bambos has
been measured at a total above ground biomass 287 tC/ha with a
mean annual production of around 47.8 t/ha/yr, almost twice that of
the Eucalyptus clones. Interestingly, the total biomass of mature
Bambusa at 6 years is in fact higher than that of teak at 40 years: 149 t
C/ha versus only 126tC/ha for teak.
Green house gas mitigation
Since the emission of carbon into the ecosystem due to industrial and
teclmological advancement, man is one of the main causal factors of
the global warming, carbon sequestration plays an important role in
its mitigation. The 1997 Kyoto protocol recognizes that the drawing
of CO, from the air and sequestering into the biomass is the only
practical way for mitigation of this gas from the atmosphere. Trees
are proved to be the vital sinks for atmospheric carbon i.e. carbon
dioxide, since 50% of their standing biomass is carbon itself
(Ravindranath et al. 1997). Importance of forested areas in carbon
sequestration is already accepted, and well documented (FSI, 1988,
and Tiwari and Singh, 1987).
The carbon sequestration potential of bamboos in India is yet to be
unravelled. Thorny bamboo, Bambusa bambos can accumulate 122,
225 and 286 t ha-l dry matter at 4,6 and 8 years (Shamnughavel and
Francis, 1996) respectively, it is on par with the 10 year old fast
growing Causarina equisetifolia or Eucalyptus tereticornis
plantation (Mutanal et al. 2007). Similarly, the per hectare biomass
accumulation by the D. strictus at the three year old plantation is very
high compared to that of Tectona grandis, Greveillea robusta or
Acacia nilotica often year age (Singh et al. 2004). The above and
below ground biomass of bamboo is approximately in the ratio 3:1.
The unique growing capacity makes bamboo a valuable sink for
carbon storage. It is reported that the total carbon content comprises
usuallyabout 50% of the total biomass (Figure I ).
In the present scenario of climate change, bamboo plantations can
playa major role in 'carbon trading', which is also known as "cap and
trade": a method developed to reduce the carbon emissions which
contribute to global warming. This will allow the developed
countries to transfer the emission credits (Carbon credit) to other
countries that reduce their emission more than their national target
under Kyoto protocol. The CDM bamboo project execution itself
creates lot of employment to the rural people during the planting and
Even otherwise, the income generated during the selling of emission
credits can be invested in the social development of the rural people
which will improve their living status. Recently, The World Bank has
projected a 25 million US$ bond, linked to Certified Emissions
Reductions (CERs) to be generated by a Clean Development
Mechanism (CDM) project in China.
Environmentally, bamboo plays a critical role in the balance of
oxygen and carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere, lowers light intensity
and protects against ultraviolet rays. It prevents soil erosion and
creates an effecti~/e watershed by binding soil along fragile
riverbanks, deforested areas and in places prone to land slides. It is an
important species for landscape as bamboo provides shade, and acts
as windbreak and acoustical barrier and has aesthetic beauty
(INBAR, 1997). Its immense potential as a bio-energy resource helps
in the retention of carbon already sequestered in the fossil fuels such
as coal, oil and gas and can save the vast natural forests.
Yet another criterion for a project to be considered under CDM is the
technological well being which indicate transfer of environmentally
safe and sound practices that are comparable to best practices in order
to assist in upgradation of the technological base. Divergent use of
bamboos as for gasification, production of bamboo charcoal and
activated charcoal, beers, vinegar, perfumes, medicines, boards,
plywood, strip boards, particleboards etc involve technologies which
are eco- friendly.
0B.bamboo D.stlictus G.aJliseffolia Eterfiicomis
Fig. Biomass production by different bamboo and tree species
INBAR. 1997. International Network for Bamboo and Rattan News
Magazine 5(3), 56pp.
Mutanal, S. M., Patil, S.J. and Shahapurmath, G. 2007. Investigation
on the productivity of multipurpose tree species in degraded
waste lands. KarnatakaJournal ofAgric. Sci. 20: 804-806.
Ravindranath, N. H., Somashekhar, B.S and Gadgil, M. 1997. Carbon
flow iDIndian forests, Climate change 35: 297-320.
Saralabai, V.C. Vivekanandan, M. and Babu S. 1997. Plantresponses
to high CO, concentration in the atmosphere.
Photosynthetictl33 :7 -35.
Shanmughavel, P. and Francis, K. 1996: Biomass and nutrient cycling
in bamboo (Bambusa bambos) plantations of tropical areas.
Biology and Fertility of Soils 23(4): 431-434
Singh, P., Dubey, P. and Jha, K. K. 2004. Biomass production and
carbon storage at harvest age in Dendrocalamus strictus
plantation in dry deciduous forest region of India. In: VII
World bamboo congress, 27 February to 4 March, New
Delhi, India 122 pp.
Thammincha, S. 1996. Bamboo shoot industry and development
(Eds. Rao, I. V.R., Sastry, C. B. ) Bamboo, People and the
Environment, Vo14. Socio-Economic and Culture.
Proceedings of the Vth International Bamboo Congress,
Bali, Indonesia 19-22 June 1995. International Network
for Bamboo and Rattan New Delhi, India, 33-39.
Tiwari, A, K, and Singh J. S. 1987. Analysis ofForest Land use and
vegetation in a part of Central Himalaya, using aerial
photographs. Environment and Conservation 14: 233-244.
Jijeesh, C. M. and Seethalakshmi, K. K.
Plant Physiology Department, SFM Division
Even though, the bamboos with their vigorous growth and
sustainable yield have the potential to replace the wood in
sequestering carbon, hardly any attempts have been made to
investigate that potential.
Bamboo plantations can be well fitted into the CDM criteria.
Afforestation and reforestation has been included in the land use
practice that comes under the acceptable activities in the CDM. In
order to qualify as the CDM practice an afforestation/reforestation
project should mitigate the green house gas emission and contribute
to social, ecot)omic,.eavironmental and technological well being of
man. It has the unique vigorous growing capacity, annual and
sustained yield and a short harvesting period which h~lps to
sequester huge amount of atmospheric CO2, one of the causal factors
of global warming. On an economic perspective, bamboo is capable
for generating employment for rural poor, skilled and semi-skilled in
plantation and in semi industrial and industrial activities. Bamboo
and it~ related.industries provide income, food and housing to over
2.5 billion people in the developing regions.
About 1500 documented traditional uses are recorded for bamboo
which can be grouped into household, industry, weapons,
transportation, fisheries, food, agriculture and construction
(INBAR, 1997). The employment potential of bamboo is very high
and the major work force involved are rural poor especially women.
Adkoli, N. S. 1994. Bamboo in the Indian pulp Industry. In: Bamboo
in Asia and the Pacific; Proceedings of the 4th International
B~mboo Workshop Ghiang Mai. Thailand 27-30 November,
1991, Intematiol\al Development Research Centre, Ottawa,
Canada, Forestty Research support Programme for Asia and
the Pacific, Bangkok, Thailand, 250-254.
FSI, (1988). The State of Forest Report 1987, Ministry of
Environment and Forests, Govt. of India.
v ARIATIONS IN SOIL PROFILES
OF KERALA FORESTS
Soil is defined as a naturally occurring, unconsolidated material on the earth's surface that is capable of supporting plant growth. Soil properties
and horizon development vary from place to place depending on climate, organisms, topographic position, parent material and time. Different
Soil profile from the evergreen forests
Located at an elevation of 600 m
Forest Division is protected from
agents by the thick vegetation.
organic residues and the soil cc
above the parent rock (Fig. la, b).
Soil profile Evergreen forests
in the Sholayar range, Vazhachal
the intense actions of weathering
Surface layer is enriched with
.lumn extends only up to 56 cm