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Mumbai gets its first botanical park for bamboo cultivation

India’s vast variety of bamboo species will be in display at the new ‘Bambusetum’ at Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) in Borivli.

The three-hectare botanical park, located at Tumnipada, two kilometres away from SGNP’s main entrance gate, will host 97 of India’s 136 bamboo species. Most specimens have been planted and the park is expected to be opened for public soon.

“The idea is to spread awareness about the unique plant and how it can be used in multiple ways. The Bambusetum is like a museum for live bamboos. While there is a similar setup in Amravati with 74 species, Bambusetum is a first for the city and one of the rare ones in India,” said Anwar Ahmed, director and chief conservator of forest, SGNP.

SGNP has acquired specimens of various bamboo species from Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Manipur, Mizoram, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Meghalaya, and three species from the other parts of the state.

SGNP officials asked bamboo conservationist and researcher Rahmat Ali Laskar from Assam, who made it to the Guiness Book of World Records by collecting 261 species of bamboo, to help them create the collection and to oversee the plantation.

“It is important that we increase bamboo cultivation in India and also awareness regarding the same. SGNP has taken a step in the right direction. Due to threats related to climate change, extreme heavy rainfall events, high humidity, and cattle grazing on bamboo plantations, the grass is under threat in northeast India,” Laskar said.

Bamboo forests cover 15.92 lakh hectares in Maharashtra, second only to Madhya Pradesh which has 18.16 lakh hectares. In India, 15.7 million hectares is under bamboo cultivation. China is the largest producer of bamboo in the world.

Earlier this month, the state forest department decided to form a company call the Bamboo Promotion Foundation, Maharashtra, under section 8 of the Companies Act to promote conservation of the plant.

“The idea is to reduce the dependency on timber completely and bamboo can be used for virtually everything. Bamboo clusters are being developed in different parts of the state and with more community participation centres, more livelihood activities are being implemented,” said Virendra Tiwari, chief conservator of forest (mantralaya), state forest department.

Some of the bamboo species planted in SGNP

(Source: SGNP and conservationist Rahmat Ali Laskar from Assam who made it to the Guiness Book of World Records by collecting 261 species of bamboo)

First Published: Sep 01, 2018 09:16 IST

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