The Miracle of Bamboo

In Ecuador, a small bamboo plantation has developed its watershed ecosystem services, vital for nature and the local community. With the help of the FSC Ecosystem Services Procedure, they have demonstrated this positive impact and are looking for sponsorship to fund their hard work.

In the Andean province of Pichincha lie two small land plots with great environmental impact. Owned by the Serrano and Villareal families, these plots are named El Milagro (the Miracle) and La Joya (the Jewel), for good reason. After all, in these combined areas of 140 hectares, two timber bamboo species protect over 90% of surrounding local riverbanks. One of these species is native from Ecuador, while the other one comes from Asia but has successfully acclimatized to the region.

Bamboo plantations have incredible environmental properties: with their expansive underground stems, they reduce soil erosion and prevent sediments from entering streams and rivers. Fallen leaves carpet the ground, which reduces water evaporation. Their hollow stems retain water into the dry season, thus increasing environmental humidity. Dense bamboo vegetation also captures water droplets from fog. These benefits are especially important because El Milagro and La Joya were both used for intensive livestock production until 2004, which progressively led to eroded soils and deviation of water courses. Everything changed when its owners, a group of medium and small producers, began to plant bamboo in the area. Eventually, they created Allpabambú for technical management of their plantation.

They have now successfully used the FSC Ecosystem Services Procedure, a tool for FSC certificate holders to demonstrate and communicate about the positive impact of responsible forest management on the preservation and restoration of specific ecosystem services.

Once completed, the 7-step approach required by the procedure is independently evaluated by a certification body. If verified, each proposed positive impact results in a so-called “ecosystem service claim,” which can then be used for promotion and communication purposes. Read more…

Source: FSC International News, March 18, 2020