11/05/04

Bamboo crisis threatens rare species and livelihoods

Copyright: FAO

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One-third of the world’s 1,200 bamboo species face extinction because of deforestation, according to the first report on global bamboo biodiversity. The finding has grave implications both for animal species that depend on bamboo for food or shelter, and for rural livelihoods in developing countries.


The report, released today by the United Nations Environment Programme’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre and the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan, shows that 250 bamboo species have less than 2,000 square kilometres of forest remaining within their ranges. It highlights endangered species, such as the mountain gorilla and Madagascan bamboo lemurs, whose survival is closely linked to that of bamboo.


The US$3 billion export trade in bamboo products is also threatened, as are the livelihoods of millions of people who use bamboo domestically for construction, handicrafts or food, says the report.


Link to full news story on the BBC website