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Entries in Rattan (27)


Rattan Growth in Northern Myanmar

Have recently returned from Sagaing Region, Myanmar where I re-measured 120 rattan plants that I had marked the year before to determine their annual growth. Image above shows Su Pan (left, WCS Research Assistant) and Kyaw Zin Aung (right, Ranger, Myanmar Forest Department) stretching a tape to see how much the yamahta kyein (Calamus palustris) individual had grown [NOTE: The white paint mark on the stem above and to the right of Kyaw Zin Aung's hand was the location of the last leaf in 2016].

The results from this fieldwork for yamahta kyein are shown below. There appears to be a good relationship between size and growth rate for this species, i.e. taller canes usually have access to higher light levels, and some of the larger canes grow almost 2.0 meters/year. As far as I know, these are the first quantitative data on rattan growth from Myanmar. This is the type of information that is needed to define a sustainable harvest of wild rattan populations (see Growth Data for Wild Rattans).


Vietnamese Translation

For all of you who have been patiently waiting, the Vietnamese translation of Systematics, Ecology, and Management of Rattans in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam: The Biological Bases of Sustainable Use (see Finally, It's A Book) is now available and can be downloaded here. [NOTE: Thanks to Nguyan Quoc Dung, Le Viet Tam, and the WWF Greater Mekong Program for making this happen].


Rattan Ensō

Six different species of rattan cane rolled up and carefully laid out on the Ledo Road in Shimbweyeng, Kachin State, Myanmar (see Packing Up In Shimbweyeng). Love the different colors and sizes. Reminds me of those Zen circles (ensōs) that symbolize "a moment when the mind is completely spacious and unfettered and true reality is allowed to manifest itself". Which may or may not describe my state of mind in January 2005 after finishing up six weeks of fieldwork in the Hukaung Valley (see Hukaung Valley Rattan Survey). 


Thibault Ledecq

Image above shows my dear friend Thibault Ledecq in a forest outside of the village of Ban Sopphuane in Bolikhamxay Province, Laos. Thibault managed the WWF rattan project in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam for six years, facilitated the collabotation between NYBG and WWF, and was the motive force behind the rattan book (see Finally, It's A Book). Thank you, Thibault.  


Back in Phnom Penh

Arrived to Cambodia this afternoon. Will be here about a week. Training workshop with WWF rattan team and then the much-awaited book launch on Thursday. Should have a bit of free time tomorrow to visit some favorite spots, e.g. Silver Pagoda, the Royal Palace and the National Museum. [NOTE: I can't wait to see what a book launch is].

Impact Monitoring

Crummy shot of a whiteboard, but illustrated is the sample design for a network of permanent sample plots (PSP) to monitor the ecological impact of harvesting rattan from the world's first FSC-certified, sustainable rattan operation at Ban Sopphuane, Laos (see Thin Red Line). Twenty-five plots scattered throughout three harvest areas to monitor changes in the population structure of 14 rattan species. I call this a good day. [NOTE: This didn't really take all day. The morning was occupied with analyzing growth data and explaining to everyone how the original rattan inventories were conducted. We knocked out the PSP design in about an hour late in the afternoon. I still call this a good day].

How To Bend Rattan


Pretty simple actually. Carefully heat the cane with a blow torch. And then bend it with a metal jig while it is still hot. Repeat until cane attains desired curvature. The cane will maintain this shape after it is cool. [NOTE: Video clip from rattan factory at Veal Rinh commune in Laos (see Rattan Splitter).



I never wear gloves when I'm doing fieldwork. Too hot, and maybe I have a feeling that they actually separate me from the organism that I am measuring, collecting, or putting a tag on. Rattans are different. Got the gloves shown above for use during the rattan survey in the Hukaung Valley. I was fearless about grabbing rattan with these gloves. I thought the orange color would help me not lose them.  It worked. [NOTE: The rattan that I am holding, fearlessly, is Calamus palustris Griff.]


Canes in Cambodia

Pile of rattan cane laying outside of the little rattan factory at Veal Rinh commune in Preah Sihanouk province, Cambodia (see Rattan Splitter).  I think the cane is Calamus viminalis Willd., or "phdau krek" (see Field Herbarium). [NOTE: I am very ready to go back to Cambodia and continue the rattan work. Am also curious about the status of my Fulbright application to teach in Phnom Penh next year]. 


Serious Cirrus

Rattans possess one of two different types of climbing organs; both are whip-like and spiny. A flagellum is a sterile inflorescence borne on the leaf sheath at the base of the petiole (go here for a picture of a flagellum).  A cirrus, on the other hand, is an extension of the leaf rachis beyond the terminal leaflets. The rattan leaf shown above, Plectocomia assamica (see Shooting Plectocomia), has an enormous cirrus which extends out over 2 to 3 meters. This massive, solitary rattan has one of the longest cirri of any rattan. It will rip a large hole in your shirt if it snags you while you're moving through the forest. [NOTE: The person in the blue plaid shirt (with all of the holes) holding the leaf upright for the photo - is me. Andrew Henderson and field crew are visible in the background].