Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bamboo planting project at Yagirala Forest, Sri Lanka

Bamboo planting project at Yagirala Forest Reserve by a Sri Jayewardenepura University student

Savindi Caldera, a second year student in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Science of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka has launched a bamboo planting project inside the Yagirala Forest Reserve ( in the wet zone of Sri Lanka with her fellow mates.

The aims and objectives of this project are to inform, educate, and demonstrate how bamboo can reduce the environmental impacts of global climate change, to balance the carbon foot print in the Kalutara area and to encourage and motivate the community to mitigate the effects of climate change.

She started this project after having a training in India under a British Council sponsorship. In fact, she represented Sri Lanka. This project is collaborated with the International Climate Change Championship Pogramme. The objective of her project is to enrich the river banks and stream banks by planting 200 bamboo seedlings. It is expected that those plants will significantly contribute to the aesthetic value and the biodiversity of the area.

Savindi has selected bamboo for this project due to several reasons. There is a great advantage of bamboo as it has an enormous growth rate. It sequesters 4 times more carbon dioxide than hardwood and releases 35% more oxygen than equivalent stands of trees. Further, bamboo does not require any fertilisers.

The net-like root system of bamboo effectively protects watersheds by stitching the soil together along fragile riverbanks, deforested areas, and in places prone to earthquakes and mud slides. A wide-spreading root system, uniquely shaped leaves, and dense litter on the forest floor also greatly reduces rain runoff, preventing massive soil erosion and effectively keeping twice as much water, in the watershed.

Savindi believes that planting bamboo trees is an effective implementation to balance the carbon footprint because it sequesters 4 times more carbon dioxide than hardwood. She hopes to further use her knowledge and experience gathered by following the subject "Forestry and Environmental Science" at the degree level to carry out this project successfully.

Savindi (5th from the left at the front row) and her fellow mates at the project site