Identification of Bamboos in Sikkim Using RS and GIS Technique

 

Bamboo is one of the most common forest resources in Sikkim. Its wide range of uses and its great versatility qualifies it to be a multiple use alternative to timber and food to the rural poor and tribal people. Bamboo related industries both modern and traditional really play a vital role in solving rural labour, especially the off-farm season labour, and contribute tremendously to the income generation, thus alleviate poverty and improve wellbeing for the rural people.
The development scenario is clear. It is a common understanding that natural bamboo is plethora while craft-villages, bamboo based-furniture, industrial floor, construction material, and paper industry are in the thirsty of raw materials. The only concerned issue is how much bamboo resource Sikkim has, where and what they are. Therefore, there is a great demand to survey bamboo resource at district levels in order to have appropriate strategy for exploitation and management.
This is one of the first attempts in Sikkim to estimate forest resource using satellite images. The IRS P6 LISS III, multispectral images of 23.5 m resolution image was used for demarcating bamboo in the forest of Sikkim. Unsupervised and supervised classification with detailed ground check was done to delineate all bamboo areas. Items such as paddy, tea, evergreen forest and to some extent reeds was separated from bamboo by examining training sites containing these items during supervised classification. The appearance of bamboo in dry and wet areas is was slightly different.

The present estimates of bamboo covered area in the forest of whole Sikkim is about 21496.21 ha which is about 3.03% of the total geographical area of the Sikkim and 6.23% of the total forest cover area of Sikkim. West district among the four district of Sikkim comprises of maximum quantity (14.41%) of bamboo. Most of the bamboos in this district are found in south-west regions including Hilley and Barsey area. This is followed by the east district of Sikkim (8.76%) bamboo covers Northern and south-eastern region of this district. South district comprising the Central region comes to third position (8.37%) in terms of bamboo availability and North district (1.42%) comprising the south-eastern region comes to forth position.
The bamboo found in Sikkim Himalayas was categorized into three class according to its canopy coverage and was estimated that about 15000- 25000 clump /ha are found in pure natural bamboo coverage area, 5000 - 15000 clump /ha found in mixed bamboo area and less than 5000 clump / ha in mixed bamboo poor dominant area.
Average weight was calculated to find the growing stock in tons/ ha, it was estimated that 309.6 - 516 tons / ha of growing stock is present in pure natural bamboo coverage area with 15000- 25000 clump /ha, 103.2 - 309.6 tons/ ha of growing stock is present in mixed bamboo area with 5000 - 15000 clump /ha and less than 103.2 is present in mixed bamboo poor dominant area with less than 5000 clump / ha
It was found that almost all of the bamboos found in Sikkim are used for domestic and social uses. Bamboo is mainly used for house construction, scaffolding, ladders, mats, baskets, fencing, garden support, fodder, fishing rods, walking sticks, tool- handles, pipes, toys, handicrafts etc. Most of the bamboo shoots are use for human consumption.

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