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 UseApplicationsSpecific Applications/Examples
EnvironmentalEcological restoration Soil stabilization
Rehabilitation of degraded lands
Soil erosion control
Soil temperature stabilization
Protection of water bodies
Improvement of micro climatic conditions
Ecological landscaping Ornamental Foliage plant Urban landscaping
Ecological landscaping
Reforestation Regreening of marginal lands
Income generation
Industry development
Meeting household energy requirements
Foreign exchange earner
Medicinale.g. Charcoal for curing gastrointestinal problems, particularly that of liver and kidney 
Raw materialsWood industriesSmall 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.