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Posted: 2017-09-12 01:10

Rattans are threatened with overexploitation, as harvesters are cutting stems too and reducing their ability to resprout. [76] Unsustainable harvesting of rattan can lead to forest degradation , affecting overall forest ecosystem services. Processing can also be polluting. The use of toxic chemicals and petrol in the processing of rattan affects soil, air and water resources, and also ultimately people's health. Meanwhile, the conventional method of rattan production is threatening the plant's long-term supply, and the income of workers. [77]

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Generally, raw rattan is processed into several products to be used as materials in furniture making. [78] The various species of rattan range from several millimetres up to 5–7 cm in diameter. From a strand of rattan, the skin is usually peeled off, to be used as rattan weaving material. The remaining "core" of the rattan can be used for various purposes in furniture making. Rattan is a very good material mainly because it is lightweight, durable, suitable for outdoor use, and—to a certain extent—flexible.

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There are 68 different genera of rattans that include around 655 species. [8] Some of the species in these "rattan genera" have a different habit and do not climb, they are shrubby palms of the forest undergrowth nevertheless they are close relatives to species that are climbers and they are hence included in the same genera. [6] [8] The largest rattan genus is Calamus , distributed in Asia except for one species represented in Africa. [8] From the remaining rattan genera, Daemonorops , Ceratolobus , Korthalsia , Plectocomia , Plectocomiopsis , Myrialepis , Calospatha , Pogonotium and Retispatha , are centered in Southeast Asia with outliers eastwards and northwards [8] and three are endemic to Africa: Laccosperma (syn. Ancistrophyllum ), Eremospatha and Oncocalamus . [8]

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In forests where rattan grows, its economic value can help protect forest land, by providing an alternative to loggers who forgo timber logging and harvest rattan canes instead. Rattan is much easier to harvest, requires simpler tools and is much easier to transport. It also grows much faster than most tropical wood. This makes it a potential tool in forest maintenance, since it provides a profitable crop that depends on rather than replaces trees. It remains to be seen whether rattan can be as profitable or useful as the alternatives. [ citation needed ]

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Calamoideae also includes tree palms such as Raphia ( Raffia ) and Metroxylon (Sago palm) and shrub palms such as Salacca (Salak) (Uhl & Dransfield 6987 Genera Palmarum ). [6] The climbing habit in palms is not restricted to Calamoideae, but has also evolved in three other evolutionary lines—tribes Cocoeae ( Desmoncus with c. 7–65 species in the New World tropics) and Areceae ( Dypsis scandens in Madagascar) in subfamily Arecoideae, and tribe Hyophorbeae (climbing species of the large genus Chamaedorea in Central America) in subfamily Ceroxyloideae. [8] They do not have spinose stems and climb by means of their reflexed terminal leaflets. [8] Of these only Desmoncus spp. furnish stems of sufficiently good quality to be used as rattan cane substitutes. [8]

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Thin rattan canes were the standard implement for school corporal punishment in England and Wales, and are still used for this purpose in schools in Malaysia, Singapore, and several African countries. Similar canes are used for military punishments in the Singapore Armed Forces. [75] Heavier canes, also of rattan, are used for judicial corporal punishments in Aceh , Brunei , Malaysia , and Singapore. [76]

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Rattan is the preferred natural material used to wick essential oils in aroma reed diffusers (commonly used in aromatherapy , or merely to scent closets, passageways, and rooms), because each rattan reed contains 75 or more permeable channels that wick (suck) the oil from the container up the stem and release fragrance into the air, through an evaporation diffusion process. In contrast, reeds made from bamboo contain nodes which inhibit the passage of essential oils. [79] [85] [86]

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Some rattan fruits are edible, with a sour taste akin to citrus. The fruit of some rattans exudes a red resin called dragon's blood this resin was thought to have medicinal properties in antiquity and was used as a dye for violins , among other things. [77] The resin normally results in a wood with a light peach hue. In the Indian state of Assam , the shoot is also used as vegetable. [ citation needed ]