Mountain Research and Development
Bamboo is a giant grass that takes on tree-like functions in forest ecosystems. Around 75 genera and 1250 species of bamboo are known to exist throughout the world. Five hundred species in 40 genera are recorded in China, mostly in the monsoon areas of south and southwest China. Of these, 250 species in 29 genera grow naturally in the mountainous province of Yunnan, in the Chinese Himalayan region. Bamboo has a long history of being used for multiple purposes by various mountain communities in China. Among others, bamboo has served-and still serves-as construction material, fiber, food, material for agricultural tools, utensils, and music instruments, as well as ornamental plants. Yunnan as a landlocked mountain province in southwest China holds a great number of species in its natural bamboo forests. This article presents the diversity of bamboo species and of their utilization in Yunnan Province, China.