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Thirteen species of this giant grass grow on Bali. Bamboo (tiing) has countless uses: it can be eaten, fed to cattle, made into paper, rice steamers, clothespins, crab traps, boxes, flutes, ladders, firecrackers, fishing poles, and unbelievably strong twine.

Lengths of bamboo tubing are used as haunting resonators in xylophonic instruments, and sometimes whole orchestras consist of bamboo key instruments, which produce a unique, mellow, liquid sound.

Sections of tubing make a perfect cup for imbibing 'tuak'. Long, flat strips of bamboo tubing are fashioned into mats, baskets, and walls. Tables, chairs, and other furniture are made of attractive spotted bamboo (tiing tutul).

Bamboo irrigation water pipes, often several kilometers long, arc over Balinese roads. Halved bamboo stalks are used as clappers in the rice fields to scare away birds. Ingenious and melodious musical windmills are also made of bamboo.

The Environmental Bamboo Foundation, Box 196, Ubud 80571, tel. 62361-974027, fax 974029, based in an experimental community in Nyuhkuning three kilometers south of Ubud, is promoting this remarkable and ancient plant. One of the fastest growing on earth-as a viable replacement for deforested or ecologically blighted lands.

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