Bamboo roofs, floors, and even
doors: that's the style of houses in
the northeastern states, home to more
than 50 per cent of the genetic
resources of Indian bamboo. Of the
nearly 100 species belonging to 19
genera in the country, Arunachal
Pradesh, Meghalaya and Assam
together account for 16 genera, covering 63 species.
But bamboo houses may soon be a thing of the past because rapid destruction of bamboo forests is causing a major loss of genetic variability. Overexploitation for commercial use and unscientific harvesting of bamboo culms, as the stems are called, are two reasons why some species of bamboo are disappearing. An interesting feature is the change in the use of bamboo. A species at one time exploited to make poison arrows has become rare as it is no longer used in making arrows.
Excessive cutting of timber trees and allowing is bamboo forests to flower are other destructive factors that can be checked. By not cutting trees, new bamboo shoots would be : protected and by maintaining a harvesting cycle of three to four years for culms that mature fully in about three years, flowering would be prevented.
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