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Entries in Rattan (27)


Not Rattan

This picture is from Central Vietnam. Can't remember the exact circumstances, but I know that it was shot out of the front window of the truck that I was in, and that I was probably frantically pulling my camera out as we got closer to this truck thinking that it was full of rattan cane. But it's not. It's full of rubber hoses. Hundreds and hundreds of rubber hoses.



All of the seedlings that we counted in the inventory at Ban Sobphuan (see Thin Red Line) were covered with a thin film of fine sediment. Apparently, earlier in the year the nearby Nam Theun 2 hydroelectric dam released a large amount of excess water and flooded most of the forests at Ban Sobphuan. Sediment load in the water suggests that the flooding caused quite a bit of erosion. [NOTES: The World Bank-funded Nam Theun 2 dam, with an estimated constructed cost of US $1.3 billion, is the largest foreign investment in Laos to date. Rattan seedling is Calamus solitarius T. Evans & al.]. 


Thin Red Line

The first thing you need to do if you want to manage a wild population of rattan plants is to quantify the number and size of individuals in the population. This is accomplished by conducting a forest inventory. I spent the last two days in the village of Sobphouan in Bolikhamsai Province, Laos training WWF project staff (see Management Planning) how to do this. As is shown above, the first step in the inventory is to lay out out a 20 m line along a designated bearing in the forest. We used a bearing of 270º and a line of bright red nylon.

The next step is to carefully look within a 5 m strip on either side of the red line for rattan plants. Operational word here is "carefully". This step can be tedious, but it is important to go slow and not miss any plants.

The final step is to record the species and size of each rattan encountered in a fieldbook. Three simple steps that can ultimately make the difference between sustainable management and resource depletion. [NOTE: That's Bansa Thammavong (WWF Laos) and Le Viet Tam (WWF Vietnam) laying out the line; Ou Ratanak's (WWF Cambodia) hand is holding the fieldbook (thx, guys)].


Management Planning

Spent a large part of the last two days in this room talking about work plans, logframes, inventory protocols, growth data, and sustainable harvest levels with Thibault Ledecq, Regional Manager of the WWF Rattan Project (shown above), and the project managers from Cambodia and Vietnam. We need to produce 3,000 tons of sustainably harvested rattan from project villages in Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. For IKEA. Over the next three years. This will be fun. [NOTE: Those are my rattan size-class histogram doodles shown on the whiteboard in the background].


Myanmar Sunset

Rattan collectors moving cane from their boat to the bank of the river outside of Tanai (see Tanai and Tolaygi Tour of Tanai) as the sun goes down. [NOTE: Photo by U Tun Shuang (thx)].


Calamus erectus Roxb.

Another rattan from northern Myanmar (see Myauk Chee Kyein and Hukaung Valley Rattan Survey). This one is Calamus erectus Roxb., a clustering, but non-climbing, palm found in Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Thailand. Beautiful whorls of long yellow spines. Unfortunately, this rattan is more photogenic than useful, as the cane is relatively short, thick, and unflexible given its free-standing habit. [NOTE: Link is to the C. erectus entry in Andrew Henderson's wonderful Palms of Southern Asia book].


Rattan Bundles


A pan through the back of the truck that we used in the field last year in central Vietnam (see Pressing Plectocomiopsis). The bundles are filled with rattan specimens. Fifteen of these collections have been found to be new species to science (thx, Andrew). [Note: The background music is what the driver had playing (continually) on the radio. The red box of "Choco-Pies" belonged to Andrew].


Mauk Chee Kyein

Close-up of the fruits of Calamus flagellum var. flagellum collected along the Ledo Road in Kachin State, Myanmar (see Hukaung Valley Rattan Survey). The species, which is rarely used, is known locally as mauk chee kyein, or monkey poop rattan. The dried fruits, apparently, look like monkey scat.


Rattan Landing

Rattan landing in the forest at Mile 20 on the Ledo Road in Kachin State, Myanmar. The collectors are tying together bundles of 20 rattan canes for transport. Further information about what is going on in this image can be found here or here or here (scroll down to Economic Botany 61(1).pdf). 


Rattan Truck II

I've always really liked this image.  I had paused to catch my breath near 7 mile camp on the Ledo Road (see Myanmar 2005 and Hukaung Valley Rattan Survey) when this old green trunk loaded with people, fuel, and rattan came barreling by. You can see where my interest was. Everything in the image is slightly out of focus because of the speed of the truck - except the rattan cane next to the passenger's window.