How good is bamboo for the environment?

Land degradation costs the global economy an estimated $ 2,300 billion annually over the next 30 years. Bamboo seems to present itself as a solution.

Bamboo is a grass and all 1,640 species have a strong root system that binds soil. It is a very fast growing plant that is best suited for restoring non-productive agricultural land, controlling erosion and keeping slopes stable.

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A bamboo forest absorbs 5 times more CO² and produces 35% more oxygen than an equivalent piece of forest with trees. 1000 tonnes of CO² is absorbed per hectare of bamboo forest per year. After 2 to 5 years the bamboo stem is fully grown and can be harvested. Assuming 4 years of growth, 25% of the bamboo forest can be harvested every year without any reduction in the size of the forest.  

Because so much CO² is absorbed during the growth, even after the transport and processing of the bamboo stems into bamboo composite, the bamboo is much better for the environment than tropical hardwood.

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The panda is an outstanding bamboo fan. Isn’t the panda in danger if we switch to bamboo on a large scale? Fortunately, the type of bamboo that is used commercially is not the same as the smaller type of bamboo that the panda tastes good. The fast-growing giant bamboo that we use also grows in other parts of China than in the habitat of the panda.

Tropical rainforest needs at least 100 years to recover after harvesting. The roots of the bamboo plant continue to give shoots after harvesting and the plant continues to grow. The forest will, if properly managed, always absorb the same amount of CO². Bamboo forest prevents erosion due to the dense root structure. It is very suitable to allow “lost” land to grow again and to give it a function in a healthy ecosystem. Choosing bamboo instead of hardwood contributes to the preservation of the rainforests and a better environment.