Resources and IndustryBamboo Resources

Bamboo Resources
Bamboo belongs to the grass family (Gramineae), subfamily Bambusoideae. There are over 1,500 bamboo species recorded, ranging in height from a few inches (cm) to over 100 ft (30 m), with stem (culm) diameters of 1/8 inch (3 mm) to over 10 inches (25 cm). Bamboos are found in a very wide range of habitats from tropical to temperate, arid to humid and coastal to montane.

Along with the palm family (Palmae), members of the bamboo family are some of the most useful and versatile plants on earth. Due to bamboo's desirable properties, materials harvested from bamboo lend themselves to low-technology processing for use as farm or community resources.

There are two main categories of bamboo: clumping (sympodial) and running or open (monopodial). The clumping type of bamboos spread slowly at a rate of 1-4 feet (0.5 -1 meter) per year, and are easy to control. The running types can spread up to 100 feet (30 meters) in a single year, and readily spread into areas where they are unwanted. For most agricultural uses especially in tropical systems, clumping types of bamboo are recommended, and rarely, if ever, should spreading types be planted due to the severe rampancy problems, and extreme difficulty of removal.


Indigenous species
Locally, seven (7) species of bamboo have been identified in Ghana. They include:
  •  Bambusa multiplex
  •  Bambusa vulgaris (the green type)
  •  Bambusa arundinacea or Bambusa bambos
  •  Bambusa pervariabilis
  •  Bambusa vulgaris var vitata (the yellow type)
  •  Oxythenanthera abyssinica
  •  Dendrocalamus strictus

Bambusa multiplex is the only bamboo species that is identified as indigenous though and Bambusa vulgaris that was introduced several decades in the country is now considered an indigenous species. The remaining five (5) species were all introduced species.

Other introduced species

In 2003, the BARADEP Secretariat facilitated the distribution of eighteen (18) exotic bamboo species imported from Hawaii into the country by the Opportunity Industrialisation Centre (OIC). The species were distributed to some selected institutions and non-governmental organizations to multiply and monitor their growth conditions and adaptability in Ghana. It was also aimed at providing adequate planting materials for private and commercial bamboo plantation developers in Ghana.

The exotic species currently found in selected sites in the country and their uses are:

Gigantochloa albociliata                               Shoot and Weaving (can be bent like rattan)

Bambusa edulis                                              Weaving, Boards, Furniture, Shoots, Roof purling

Dendrocalamus brandisii                              Construction

Bambusa oldhanmii                                        Furniture, Shoots, Construction, Windbreak

Dendrocalamus asper                                     Shoots, Furniture, Panel

Guadua angustifolia                                         Construction

Dendrocalamus strictus                                   Weaving, Boards, Furniture, Shoots, Roof purling

Guadua chacoensis                                         Construction

Dendrocalamus membrenaceous                 Furniture, Paper pulp, Construction light

Thyrosostachis siamensis                                Weaving, Handicraft, Shoots, Paper pulp

Dendrocalamus latiflorus                                  Weaving, Shoots, Furniture, Boards

Bambusa textilis                                                  Weaving, Shoots

Bambusa ventricosa                                            Ornamental

Bambusa burmanica                                         Construction (light)

Potential Application

Broad Use


Specific Applications/Examples


Ecological restoration


Soil stabilization
Rehabilitation of degraded lands
Soil erosion control
Soil temperature stabilization
Protection of water bodies
Improvement of micro climatic conditions

Ecological landscaping

Foliage plant
Urban landscaping
Ecological landscaping


Regreening of marginal lands


Income generation
Industry development
Meeting household energy requirements
Foreign exchange earner



e.g. Charcoal for curing gastrointestinal problems, particularly that of liver and kidney


Raw materials

Wood industries

Small scale/Rural industries
E.g. weaving, carving, furniture
household wares, scaffoldings
road construction pillar guides



Industrial scale
laminated bamboo boards, panels for flooring, ply-bamboo


Food industry


edible shoots, forage and fodder
bamboo beer


Paper  industry


Pulp and paper, rayon


Pharmaceutical  Industry
Biochemical industry
Chemical industry
Water treatment industry


Activated bamboo charcoal, Vinegar


Industrial manufacturing techniques can produce a wide range of long lasting, strong and inexpensive goods from bamboo. The many products of various bamboo species include:

* Durable materials for structural building, flooring, trim, and plybamboo (similar to plywood)
* Light and strong materials for crafts, handicrafts and furniture.
* Fiber for woven goods such as paneling and baskets
* Pulp for paper and other fiber products
* Raw materials for agricultural uses such as fencing, tools, rafts, trellises, water pipes, etc.
* Fodder for domestic animals such as cattle, sheep and goats
* Edible shoots for food
* Medicine
* Ornament in the landscape or as cut foliage

Examples of integrated agroforestry systems using bamboo:
* Erosion control
* Stream and pond bank stabilization
* Hedge, screen and windbreak
* Wastewater treatment
* Livestock fodder systems
* Wildlife habitat

Current Application of Bamboo in Ghana

* Raw materials for agricultural uses such as fencing, tools, rafts, trellises, water pipes
* Wildlife habitat
* Stream and rive bank stabilization
* Ornament in the landscape or as cut foliage
* Light and strong materials for crafts, handicrafts and furniture.


Bamboo & Rattan Development Programme. Website by EdgeCube