Is bamboo tree or grass?
For 90 years, bamboo was considered as tree. Its cutting and transportation was problematic. Indian government amended old law and categorised bamboo as grass.
- Indian Forest Act, 1927 considered bamboo as tree.
- Cutting or transportation of bamboo was legal offence.
- Indian Government amended the law and labelled bamboo as grass.
Cutting and transportation required one to get permission of the forest department of the state governments concerned. Getting this permission was not easy.
Scientifically speaking, bamboo is not tree but grass. However, the Indian Forest Act, 1927 considered it as tree. Accordingly, cutting bamboo from outside forests and transporting it was made unlawful.
Despite India being the second largest grower of bamboo after China, it had to import bamboo from Taiwan even for sundry purposes such as making of incense stick.
Following the amendment in the Indian Forest Act, 1927, bamboo has been removed from the category of tree. Now there is no prohibition on growing or cutting bamboo trees even outside the forests.
As bamboo was defined as a tree under the previous law, its inter-state movement required a permit. Consequent to the change brought in by the amended Act, felling or transportation of bamboos grown in non-forest areas will not require such permits.
Several industries including paper and furniture making ones will immensely benefit out of the amended law. An exponential increase in the growing and consumption of bamboo cannot be denied. It augurs a new era for the tribal areas as well.