Largest areas of bamboo forest are in North Eastern states of India and China. Average life cycle of bamboos varies from 40-80 years. After attaining maturity most of the bamboo flowers and thereafter, seeds are formed. After flowering the tree is dead. When these seeds are ripe, they fall on surface. These seeds are very nutritious and protein rich. Rats feed upon them and multiplication among them increases. Consequently, rat population is increased manifold within a short span. This problem aggravates, when there is no much variety in bamboo trees of forest. Due to this reason, all the trees start flowering simultaneously. Till the time bamboo seeds are available in forest, rats enjoy by feasting upon them and increase their population. But, as soon as seeds are finished, these rats start migrating to agricultural farms and human colonies. Such large number of rats finds it difficult to have food . The stored food in homes becomes target of rats, A famine like situation is created due to sudden population burst in rats.
Such famines have been witnessed in Mizoram in 1862, 1911 and 1958. The rat population increase led to raids on granaries and the destruction of paddy fields and subsequently to a year-long famine. The 1958 Mautam resulted in the recorded deaths of at least a hundred people, besides heavy loss to human property and crops. Such famine is called as ‘Mautam’ in Mizoram, India. In 2006, Mautam was controlled timely, with help of Indian Army.
Govt must encourage different types of bamboo varieties in forest. Bamboo cutting before flowering is also very helpful and it can be used for commercial purpose. This will help tribal population to improve their livelihood. Keeping in view these factors, our Govt. has recently allowed bamboo for commercial cultivation and cutting. Bamboo is not a tree scientifically.