Bamboo resources in Vietnam – Ngo Thi Minh Duyen

Researcher, Research Centre for Forest Tree Improvement, Forest Science Institute of Vietnam, Hanoi, Vietnam.

Area and habitats

Vietnam has a total land area of more than 33 million hectares; forest area of 9302 million hectares with land coverage of 28.2%, 1049 million hectares plantation area.

Table 1. Forest area of Vietnam

Forest typeArea (ha)Rate (%)
Forest area9 302 200100
Natural forest8 252 50088.5
Wood forest (timber)6 787 000
Bamboo forest846 000
Mixed wood-bamboo Forest618 900
Plantation1 049 70011.5

Vietnam has tropical climate with high temperature and humidity, advantageous for growth of bamboo. Bamboo is an important forest resource of Vietnam. According to a forest inventory in 1993, bamboo forests accounted for 11.4% of the total forest area with 5.551 billion culms (Table 1). Bamboos exist either in pure forests or in woody and bamboo mixed forest, mostly occurring in evergreen rain forests or deciduous stands throughout Vietnam ranging from the coast to plain, lowland to high mountainous areas of about 3000 m a.s.l. In extreme cases, some species such as Bambusa stenostachya can also tolerate submerged condition (e.g. flood) up to one month.

Genera and species

According to Pham Hoang Ho (1994), there are the following species that belong to 20 genera in Vietnam.

1. Arundiraria amabilis McClure
Arundiraria baviensis Bal.
Arundiraria brilletii A. Cam
Arundiraria petelotri A. Cam
Arundiraria pusilla A. Cher & Cam
Arundiraria rovelli H. de Lehaie
Arundiraria sat Bal

2. Bambusa agrestis (Lour) Poiret
Bambusa aurinuda McClure
Bambusa balcon Roxb
Bambusa bambos Voss
Bambusa blumeana Schultes
Bambusa dissemulator McClure
Bambusa flexuosa Munro
Bambusa gibba McClure
Bambusa multiplex Raeusch
Bambusa atra Lindl
Bambusa longispiculata Gamble
Bambusa nutans Wall
Bambusa pallida Munro
Bambusa pierreana E. G. Cam
Bambusa procera A. Cheu. & A. Cam
Bambusa sesquiflora (McClure) Chia & Fung
Bambusa stenostachya Mackel
Bambusa tulda Roxb.
Bambusa tuldoides Munro
Bambusa textilis McClure
Bambusa variabilis Munro
Bambusa ventricosa McClure
Bambusa vulgaris Scharader ex Wendl
Bambusa vulgaris var. aureo Variegata

3. Bonia tongkinensis (Bon)

4. Cephalostachyum chevalieri A. Camus
Cephalostachyum langbianense A. chev & A. Camus
Cephalostachyum virgatum Kurz

5. Dendrocalamus asper (Schult) Back ex Heyne
Dendrocalamus beechyana Keng
Dendrocalamus brandisii (Munro) Kurz
Dendrocalamus giganteus Munro
Dendrocalamus hamiltonii Nees & Am
Dendrocalamus latiflorus Munro
Dendrocalamus longifimbriatus Gamble
Dendrocalamus membranaceus Munro
Dendrocalamus patellaris Gamble
Dendrocalamus poilanei A. cam
Dendrocalamus sericeus Munro
Dendrocalamus sinuata (Gamble) Holu

6. Dinochloa alata McClure
Dinochloa macclellandii Kurz

7. Gigantochloa atter (Hassk) Kurz
Gigantochloa cochinchinensis A. Camus
Gigantochloa levis (Blco) Merr.
Gigantochloa multicaulis Camus
Gigantochloa nigro-ciliata (Buse) Kurz
Gigantochloa pseudoarundinacea (Steud) Widjaja
Gigantochloa sp.

8. Indosasa crassifolia McClure

9. Melocalamus compactiflorus Benth. & Hook.

10. Oxytenanthera albociliata Munro
Oxytenanthera dinhensis G. Camus
Oxytenanthera hayatae A. Camus
Oxytenanthera hosseusii Pilger
Oxytenanthera parvifolia Brandis
Oxytenanthera poilanei A. Camus
Oxytenanthera stocksii Munro
Oxytenanthera tenuispiculata A. Camus

11. Phyllostachys aurea Carr.
Phyllostachys bambusoides Sieb. & Zucc.
Phyllostachys mitis Riviere
Phyllostachys nigra Munro
Phyllostachys puberula Munro
Phyllostachys pubescens Mazel

12. Pseudostachyum polymorphum Munro (Now Schizostachyum)

13. Pseudoxytenanthera monadelpha (thn) Sod. & Ellis.

14. Racemobambos ciliata (A Camus) Chao & Renv.

15. Sasa humilis (Mif) Camus
Sasa japonica Mark.

16. Schizostachyum aciculare Gamble
Schizostachyum blumei Nees
Schizostachyum brachycladum Kurz
Schizostachyum dullooa Majumdar
Schizostachyum chilianthum Kurz
Schizostachyum gracile Holttum
Schizostachyum hainanense Merrill
Schizostachyum kurzii Majundar
Schizostachyum leviculme McClure
Schizostachyum zollingeri Steud.
Schizostachyum pseudolima McClure

17. Sinarundinaria falcata Chao & Renv.
Sinarundinaria floribunda Chao & Renv.
Sinarundinaria griffithiana Chao & Renv.
Sinarundinaria rolloana Chao & Renv.
Sinarundinaria schmidtiana Chao & Renv.

18. Taeniostachyum dullooa Gamble Syn. Schizostachyum dullooa Manjumdar

19. Tetragonocalamus quadrangularis (Frenzi) Mak

20. Thyrsostachys siamensis Gamble Syn. T. regia Bennet

It is believed that if more detailed survey were conducted, the number of bamboo species would be possibly higher reaching 150-200.

Some species naturally distributed in Vietnam exist as pure forests over large areas. In the North:

Arundinaria griffithii
Indosasa crassifolia
Taeniostachyum dullooa (Schizostachyum dullooa)
Dendrocalamus sericeus
Dendrocalamus hamiltonii
Phyllostachys bambusoides

In the South:

Gigantochloa multicaulis
Gigantochloa nigrociliata
Bambusa procera
Cephalostachyum virgatum

Total area of pure bamboo forests in Vietnam is 846 000 ha, mixed wood-bamboo forest is 618 900 ha.

Bamboo species are mainly concentrated in the following four regions:

– Central Northern Vietnam.
– North Central Vietnam.
– Central Highland.
– East of the Southern Vietnam.

Among the recorded species, the following are considered as commercially important:

Indosasa crassifolia
Bambusa procera
Bambusa stenostachya
Dendrocalamus membranaceus
Dendrocalamus asper
Dendrocalamus sericeus
Dendrocalamus giganteus
Dendrocalamus latiflorus
Phyllostachys pubescens

These species are used for building material, paper, board industry, furniture, handicraft etc. Moreover some species provide edible shoots.

There are 14 endemic species in Vietnam:

Arundinaria baviensis Bal
Arundinaria petelotii A. Cam
Arundinaria pusilla A. Chew & Cam.
Arundinaria sat Bal
Bonia tongkinensis
Bambusa pierreana
Bambusa procera
Gigantochloa cochichinensis
Gigantochloa multicaulis
Dendrocalamus poilanei
Cephalostachyum chevalieri
Cephalostachyum langbianense
Oxytenathera dinhensis
Oxytenathera poilanei

Three species were found endangered, only present in restricted areas: 1) Chimonobambusa quadrangularis. This is very rare species in Vietnam, distributed naturally in a small area. 2) Phyllostachys nigra. 3) Phyllostachys bambusoides. Both species show narrow distribution.


Conservation work of bamboo species was started in 1990. Some species are conserved ex situ in a number of gardens in different ecological zones, such gardens are used for study, training and genetic conservation purposes.

At Cauhai collection garden, beside many famous plants and trees there are 30 common and rare bamboo species of North Vietnam.

At Trangbom collection garden (Dongnai province) 10 bamboo species represent South Vietnam. In Camquy collection garden (Hatay province), 10 bamboo species are conserved.

According to Ministry of Forestry (Report 1995), the area of bamboo plantation established until 1989 in Vietnam was about 43 700 ha. Since then in Thanh hoa province about 37 300 ha of bamboo have been cultivated, of which 28 000 ha are Dendrocalamus membranaceus plantations. In Caobang province, about 510 ha of pure bamboo forest has been established using Phyllostachys pubescens and Phyllostachys bambosoides. Some other species such as: Indosasa crassifolia, Bambusa stenostachya, Dendrocalamus asper, Dendrocalamus giganteus etc. are cultivated in a small area. Some economically valuable species have been over exploited leading to decrease of genetic resources.

Propagation methods: Bamboo species often flower at long intervals (sometime from 30-50 years) and after flowering they rarely produce viable seeds. For instance, Indosasa sp. has 5-10% viable seeds. Propagation by seeds is not popular in Vietnam. Vegetative propagation methods are mostly practiced:

– Propagation by rhizome cutting is traditionally the best way practiced by local people. Rhizomes are cut into units 30-35 cm long, planted in soil 30 cm deep.- Propagation by culm cuttings: 1-2 years old culms cut before or after they produce new shoots, suitable months for propagation of Dendrocalamus membranaceus, July to September, Bambusa stenostachya propagated from March to July with survival rate of 95-100%. Propagation by branch cutting is also possible, by using growth regulators such as NAA, 2,4-D, survival rate is very high.

– Tissue culture work in Vietnam, recently carried out, results in multishoot stage obtained in some species. (Ngo 1994, 1997; Le 1971; Vu 1994; Research 1995).

Extraction and sustainable utilization: For ages, bamboos were planted along dykes, stream banks, around villages etc. to prevent soil erosion. Bamboos are common in watershed forests in North of Central Vietnam, East of Southern Vietnam, Central Highland, Central Northern Vietnam. Rehabilitation of bamboos was studied using Indosasa sp., and it takes from 5-7 years to establish after forest fire. About five years after logging they can rehabilitate but quality is reduced. The method to harvest is to cut 1/2 or 1/3 number of culms per clump. After 4-5 years they rehabilitate to initial size. Dendrocalamus strictus can be harvested, 8 to 10 years after planting with rotation of 3 years, removing 1/3 of total culms, and cutting period from November to April, only culms of 3 years old harvested.

Research in progress: Research on taxonomy of bamboo is progressing in Vietnam to prepare the Flora of Vietnam. Research on ecology of some commercial bamboo species is carried out to grow them in plantations. Research is also progressing on bamboo shoot production of various species, processing methods of bamboo culm and improvement of bamboos used for construction. Some species have been planted widely such as: Dendrocalamus membranaceus, Indosasa crassiflora, Phyllostachys pubescens etc. to supply material for paper and board industry, furniture, weaving mats, and other products, including bamboo pictures. Some bamboo species are grown in gardens for further research, training and genetic conservation.

Utilization and economic value: For centuries, bamboos have been closely connected in the daily life of the Vietnam people and utilized for a wide range of purposes. Bamboos are used for construction for producing board, for making paper, for musical instruments, for making furniture, weaving baskets, handicrafts and used as a vegetable. Bamboo products of Vietnam are mainly exported to Taiwan, Japan, Hongkong, Thailand, Russia, Germany, France, Hungary and other countries. Bamboo inlaid lacquer painting is very popular. This is a new type of Vietnamese art work created. This product has been commended by UNESCO, stressing culture of bamboos in art work.

Research and development needs

There is some information available but much more needs to carried out including the following:

– Inventory of bamboos in the whole country and identity them.- Determining distribution of species as well as whole range of genetic variation which will help conservation and improvement work.

– Study biological characteristics, ecological requirements, as well as natural and artificial methods of regeneration.

– Document suitable methods to cultivate and exploit economically valuable species.

– Plan and prepare methods for sustainable use of genetic resources.


Le Nguyen. 1971. Identifying, Propagating and Exploiting of Bamboo. Agricultural Publishing House, Hanoi.

Ngo Quang De. 1994. Propagation of Bamboo. Agricultural Publishing House, Hanoi.

Nguyen Hoang Nghia. 1997. Genetic Conservation of Forest Plant Species. Agricultural Publishing House, Hanoi.

Pham Hoang Ho. 1994. Flora of Vietnam; Agricultural Publishing House, Hanoi.

Vu Van Dung. 1994. Methods for Planting some Forest Tree Species. Agricultural Publishing House, Hanoi.

Research results of Forest Inventory and Planning Institute 1995 (period 1991-1995). Agricultural Publishing House, Hanoi.

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