Before we begin, let’s clear something up. Bamboo is not a tree! It is the fast growing grass on the planet and it is a perfect replacement for trees because it has an extremely short growth cycle and a very high carbon dioxide exchange rate. There are over 1200 documented species of bamboo. A mature grove of bamboo sends up new shoots every year and these new shoots reach their full size in just a couple of months. Some can even grow up to 47 inches within 24 hours and can reach over 100 feet in height within 60 days. This short growth cycle makes it a perfect replacement for our slow growing forests that are being steadily cut back. It also provides erosion control when other plants are washed away.
A FEW INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT BAMBOO
- Bamboo is a great plant for individuals concerned with a green environment. There are some 1500 different species that are native to every continent except Europe.
- Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on this planet. It has been recorded growing at an amazing 47.6 inches in a 24 hour period.
- Bamboo is a vaible replacement for wood. It can be harvested in 3-5 years versus 10-20 for most softwoods. It can out yield pine 6 to 1 in biomass production.
- It is also one of the strongest building materials with a tensile strength of 28,000 psi. To help give you an idea how much this is, mild steel measures 23,000 psi.
- Bamboo is a crucial element in the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. A grove of bamboo releases 35% more oxygen than an equivalent stand of trees. Because of this, planting bamboo is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and help fight global warming.
- It is a great soil conservation tool. It greatly reduces erosion with a sum of stem flow rate and canopy intercept of 24%. This dramatically reduces rain run-off, preventing massive soil erosion and making it very earth friendly.
- Bamboo can also tolerate extreme conditions that most plants cannot. It was actually the first plant to re-green after the atomic blast in Hiroshima in 1945.
- Bamboo can be eaten (new shoots), made into fiber for clothing, it can be used in concrete reinforcement, it can provide great livestock feed with the foliage being up to 22% protein, it can be machined into numerous forms of lumber, etc. It might be easier to compile a list of what bamboo cannot be used for than what it is used for.