A partnership between the governments of Brazil and China can help Brazil develop new uses for bamboo. The agreement between the two countries was reaffirmed last week by the Brazilian Minister of Environment, Marina Silva, at a meeting with the president of the Chinese Forest Academy, Jiang Zehui.
By the agreement, the Chinese will help to develop research on new ways to use native Brazilian species. As a result, many pieces presently made of wood can be substituted by bamboo.
In January, 2003, the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama) signed a letter of intentions with the Chinese Forest Academy for the purpose of creating and implementing the Brazilian Bamboo Program.
According to Tasso Azevedo, director of the Ministry of Environment’s National Forests Program, Brazil still does not have a culture of bamboo utilization, except in handcrafts, although it is a material that is cheap and easy to manipulate.
Azevedo went on to say that bamboo is used to produce cellulose for the paper industry, but it can be used in other ways as well.
A United Nations report published in March, 2004, contends that half of the planet’s 1.2 thousand extant bamboo species, including one Brazilian type, are endangered.
Brazil, with over 130 species, possesses the largest number of types of bamboo in Latin America. According to the United Nations, the biggest threat to bamboo is posed by deforestation.