Non-Timber Forest Products Exchange Programme

Rattan and Sustainability

Rattan is a natural climbing plant that grows in rainforests or in rattan gardens. If left alone, they can grow up to hundreds of meters. They require trees to latch on in order to grow. At a certain age, they produce shoots that shall grow into new rattan vines. They take about 5 to 7 years to regenerate. This is for the small diameter rattan. Large diameter rattan may take longer to grow.

In Indonesia, there are "Rattan Farmers" who maintain their lands in forest-like state, caring for and planting the rattan and the trees that they grow on. Then, there are also "Rattan Gatherers" who harvest wild growing rattan from natural forests.

Rattan can be considered as a sustainable material as farmers need to maintain trees in order to cultivate their rattan. However, to be fully sustainable, they also need to be harvested in a sustainable manner.

Sustainable rattan gathering process makes sure that rattan are harvested legally, either from rattan gardens or from public access forests. It also ensures that trees are not cut when the vines are harvested. It also entails that for clustering rattan species, only mature vines are cut so other stems and shoots can still grow.. In both clustering and single stemmed rattan, it is important that the rattan has produced seeds and seeds have fallen to the ground creating new seedlings. If harvesting is done before seeding, regeneration is not possible.