Bamboo of the Americas
Eduardo Ruiz-Sanchez, Executive Director of BOTA
The American Bamboos comprises more than 576 described species divided in two types of growing: the woody and the herbaceous bamboos. One of my chief goals as bamboo researcher and executive director of BOTA is to help make people more appreciative of the economic, scientific, and ornamental value of bamboo, especially American bamboo species. My major scientific interests in bamboo are the systematics, taxonomy and conservation of American woody bamboo species. I seek to understand the speciation processes of bamboo (ecological and genetic speciation), discovering and describing new species to the science and to preserve the rare and endangered American bamboos. I was the first recipient of a BOTA-SAP grant to survey and collect bamboo indigenous to Mexico. Some of my living collections are in the Mexican Bamboo Collection in the Jardín Botánico, Francisco Javier Clavijero at INECOL in Xalapa, Mexico. The grant also yielded three papers published in international journals, and we identified four new Otatea species, and described 17 new bamboo species in the last years (2011-2018). More new bamboos are in the process of being described, all this only in Mexico, but in the Americas there are more species to discover and to describe. However, many American bamboo species are endangered and in risk of extinction. We need to know how many species are endangered and propose methods for in situ and ex situ conservation. If you want to help us to preserve the bamboo diversity throughout the length and width of America, please send a tax-deductible donation and be part of preserving the bamboo diversity of America.
Gib Cooper, Former Executive Director of BOTA
Dear Friend, while we are planting and enjoying our favorite bamboo, many native American bamboo species are ignored and even being destroyed in their home countries. Recently, in Mexico, I observed several ways bamboo habitat is disappearing. As people move further into the mountains, logging and land clearing activities expose islands of bamboo habitat. Herds of goats or cattle often follow to forage on the fragile vegetation and bamboo. These same areas may fall under slash-and-burn maize farming. Even bamboo in national parks and reserves may be at risk. In more settled areas, other small islands of bamboo are found clinging precariously to the roadside, protected only by pavement and pasture fencing. We are now taking action for the future. Native plants are disappearing rapidly. The only solution is cooperation with local botanic gardens and nurseries to collect the plants for local establishment and cultivation. We have a major long-term project funded by individual, business and bamboo society contributions, under the administration of the American Bamboo Society (ABS) and with the support and endorsement of the Pacific NW Chapter, Northern California Chapter, Southern California Chapter of the American Bamboo Society and the Association of Zoological Horticulture (AZH). Your commitment to the future of our American bamboo will help rescue our favorite plant from the uncertainty of population growth in Mexico and Brazil and set the example for Costa Rica, Guatemala, Ecuador and Chile further down the road. Please send a tax deductible donation and be a part of saving American bamboo.