Picture the sturdy yellow bamboo swaying gracefully next to the lean apple green. Both are bamboo, both strong, but how remarkable that the two of the same species radiate diverse loveliness. Bamboo shines in music, painting, décor, cooking, dining and even building. Then it sways its ways into languages. If the Chinese proverb says the taller the bamboo grows, the lower it bends, the Malay says - if one is to bend bamboo, do so when it is a shoot. And into songs - the nostalgic Seruling Bambu, sung by the late great singer Sudirman Haji Arshad in the 80’s touches deep the heart of many. What a wildly variegated species.
Culturally and scientifically, there is a need to preserve bamboo. To do so, the management of forest ecosystem requires field assessment bamboo distribution. Thus Nazlin Asari, a PhD student of UiTM Shah Alam, studied its composition, distribution pattern and diversity of bamboo in three locations in the Pahang National Park, 25km North of Kuala Tahan in Pahang.
Nazlin and team collected data on species, diameter at breast height (DBH), height, number of culms, size of clump and internodes length. They reported that five species of bamboo prosper in this area. These are Gigantochloa scortechinii (Buluh semantan), Schizostachyum brachycladum (Buluh lemang), S. latifolium (Buluh nipis), S. grande (Buluh semeliang) and Bambusa vulgaris (Buluh aur).
The clump size data were measured by the size around the clump and the clump height was estimated via the average height of all stems in a clump. This was by measuring the height of a representative shoot. Number of culms per clump was is known by the number of stems in each clump. The internodes length was measured by the length from one node to the adjacent node of the randomly selected stems per clump. The diameter at breast height was measured by its stem diameter.
Nazlin and team found that that the means of DBH, height, number of culms, size of clump size and internodes length of bamboo were 5.3 cm, 10.9 m, 33 culms, 7.0 m, 49.2 cm, respectively. The Shannon-Weiner index of bamboo in this area was relatively low (1.07).
They recorded fifty bamboo clumps of five species. The most number of clumps were of the Semantan (30 clumps), followed by Buluh lemang (14 clumps), Semeliang (4), Nipis (2) and Aur (1).
Their record supports another study conducted in Malaysia which reported that the most widespread species in Peninsular Malaysia are Buluh semantan, which is also the most useful species. This species grows naturally in the foothills and valleys of mountain ranges in the northern Peninsular Malaysia.
Species richness can be explained by the relative density (RD) of the bamboo in the study area. Bamboo have different growth rates, development patterns, and different requirement of environmental conditions, which are subject to the species genetic character and the environmental conditions. So do needs of different temperature, precipitation, and humidity. Thus the difference in bamboo genera composition in Kuala Keniam could be due to the climatic condition which different species needs and climatic conditions to grow.
Nazlin found that the Semantan exhibited the highest value of relative density (58.8%), followed by the Lemang, Semeliang, Nipis and Aur, having relative density of 27.5, 7.8, 3.9 and 2.0 %, respectively. She said another study on bamboo in Peninsular Malaysia reported that Semantan was the most dominant, covering 42,172,238 hectares out of 110,584,148 hectares forest areas.
The distribution of bamboo by diameter class is useful to describe its geographic distribution. The diameter of overall sample ranges between 0.2 and 8.8 cm. Thus in this study, Semantan is present in all diameter classes, but the most is in the diameter class of 8.1 to 10.0 cm. Latifolium, the smaller diameter bamboo, is distributed in the class of 0 to 2.0 cm and 2.1 to 4.0 cm.
Bamboo also shows different growth rate and size. The different distribution of species by diameter class could be due to their growth, maturity and sensitivity to the depth of soil organic matter.
There was only one species found in each of the three areas studied. The H’ for the study locations was lower than their maximum diversity indices, indicating that all species in the locations did not have equal area abundance. The diversity index would be maximum if all species had equal area abundance.
It showed that the H’ for overall species in the studied areas was 1.07, which suggested there was a low species diversity in Kuala Keniam. The elevation, slope gradient, and slope always have impact on the vegetation growth of bamboo. The differences in the diversity index of each location could be due to the topographic factors which might be less favourable for the growth of other species. The maximum possible diversity in this area was 3.93 and the species evenness was 0.27, which means that the abundance of different species is almost similar.
The mean of diameter at breast height of Buluh nipis and Buluh semeliang is lower than that the Aur and Semantan (p?0.05). The smallest mean diameter Nazlin recorded the Schizostachyum genera.
It is also known that the Indonesian and South East Asian bamboo size for 9 species: S. lumampao (native of the Philippines), S. brachycladum, S. grande, S.latifolium and S. Zollingeri are the tallest, which can reach 20 m. Other species range between 8 – 12 m and the diameter is small, which is below 4 cm. Likewise, the height of Buluh aur differs from the heights of Buluh semeliang and Buluh nipis (p?0.05), due to the species growth and the soil.
In sum, there is a low diversity of bamboo species in Kuala Keniam Forest, where only five were observed: Buluh semantan, Buluh lemang, Buluh semeliang, Buluh nipis and Buluh aur. The Semantan is the most dominant with 30 clumps and the highest relative density, 58.8%. While the least dominant was the Aur with only one clump with the lowest relative density, 2.0%. From the 50 clumps, the Semantan posed the highest diameter (6.5 cm) while Lemang was the smallest (1.9 - 4.5 cm).
As the grace and strength of bamboo is still in use in some parts of Malaysia, and the world, future studies on it should be conducted, in particular, related to soil. Soil influences the species occurrence and growth.
Mohd Nazip Suratman
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 June 2011 11:21|