Neomicrocalamas andropogonifolia is a new bamboo species recorded for Sarpang. It was believed to be found only in Dewathang in Samdrujongkhar and Manus in Zhemgang (Flora of Bhutan 2000) until it was discovered in Chudzom, Jigmecholing and Dekiling geogs.
Neomicrocalamus andropogonifolia was recorded in Dekiling and Chudzom during the community forest resource assessment in 2010 and 2011. It was recorded in Galeychu under Jigmecholing by the Geog Forestry Extension Agent during the preliminary Eco-tourism and tracking survey in February 2015.
The species is known as Ula in Kheng, Ringshu (Sharchop) and Langma (Nepali). It is a climbing species that requires the shade and support of trees. It apparently grows in clumps that are often dense so that the sustainable management is simple as long as harvesting does not become too intense and a suitably long rotation is followed. It is locally very abundant but the localities in which it grows are limited as it is quite demanding requiring warm fertile sites with abundant rainfall.
Unlike other bamboos, Neomicrocalamas andropogonifolia has prominent socio-cultural and economic significances. That is why most of the rural villages of lower Kheng in Zhemgang and Kangpara in Trashigang were benefited through production of bangchungs and other valuable bamboo products.
Under Chudzom, scattered clumps are prevalent in Pankeysir and Gungring top, Katley top in Jigmecholing and above Dholpani village in Dekiling. Except for Pankeysir, clump densities in rest of the geogs are abundant and grown within the highly vegetated warm broad-leaved forest areas above 1340 masl.
Abundances of growth and diversity of the new species clumps has greatly contributed the initiation of Yula-based Handicraft and Souvenir Production Group in Sarpang whereby farmers can be able to earn better incomes through sale of bamboo souvenirs. Since overharvesting can compromise the resources sustainability, there is a need for the adaptation of concrete species-specific management plan to ensure the sustainability of the Neomicrocalamas andropogonifolia in the future.
Globally, there are 91 genera and over 1,000 species of bamboo been grown in the world. However, 80% of bamboo species in the world were reported to be grown in East Asia and Southeast Asia (Yuming and Jiru, 2015). Although Bhutan is a small country, it has 15 genera and 31species of bamboo (Flora of Bhutan 2000) growing pervasively within the various agro-ecological zones serving manifold socio-economic, socio-cultural and ecological purposes since time immemorial.
By Jigme Tenzin, the Geog Forestry Extension Agent, Jigmecholing
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