Bamboo is one of the world’s most important non-timber forest products (NTFPs) which have been advocated for poverty alleviation in many regions. However, in Ethiopia it is utilized below its potential due to lack of scientific knowledge and awareness on its management and utilization. Therefore, the main objective of this study was to investigate the indigenous knowledge of highland bamboo management and utilization practices of local communities in Kokosa woreda. Five kebeles were purposively selected and 196 sample households (HHs) were selected randomly. Primary data was collected through face-to-face interview, direct observation, key informant interview and focus group discussion. The collected qualitative data was analyzed using simple descriptive statistics, mean and percentage values and standard error. The result of the study indicated that, local people have experience of developing bamboo stands using their indigenous knowledge on propagation techniques. Among the propagation techniques, bamboo offsetting (82%) was preferred most, where 89% of the source of bamboo offset was obtained from individual farmers. The local communities have experienced bamboo stand management practices of which fencing the bamboo stands (44%) was most applied followed by compost application (33%). Mean bamboo area coverage is 0.32 ha per household. The average number of bamboo landraces was 4. Bamboo landrace identification criteria used in the area are bamboo diameter (21.31%), length of internodes between nodes (21.20%), bamboo stem color (21.20%) and splitting nature (18.68%). Bamboo is used for a variety of traditional applications including house construction (100%), fencing (100%), fodder (99.48%), household furniture and utensils (92.34%), fuel wood (98.97%) and as cash source (100%). Traditionally, farmers somehow know how to take care for bamboo roots and rhizomes, which is a good habit to sustain bamboo resource utilization. Such habit has to be integrated with modern knowledge as skilled capability of the harvesters for scientific management is required.
Key words: Bamboo, harvesting, landrace, management, offset, propagation, utilization.
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