Facts about bamboo
GRASS OR TREE?
Bamboo is a collective term for woody grasses (Bambusoideae) from subtropical and tropical regions and thus technically grass. It includes 1,575 species, which are divided into 111 genera. It was the German botanist Charles Kunth who first published his taxonomic findings in 1815.
Bamboo is the largest and the only grass species that can grow into a forest. Although bamboo is a grass, many species look like trees, but there are some significant differences between grass and trees.
A tree grows in both diameter and in height every year, but bamboo reaches its full height in a single season after which it neither grows in thickness or height. Instead it gradually sets more side branches. In addition bamboo has no bark but protective leaves around the culm in their early stage of development.
IS BAMBOO JUST BAMBOO?
As described above, bamboo consists of many different species and they all have unique growth rates. Some bamboo species can grow up to 1 meter a day during the shooting period if the soil and climate conditions are optimal. But far from all bamboo species have such impressive growth rates. Some bamboo species do not grow taller than a few centimeters, while other species can grow up to 40 meters. Some bamboo species bloom at intervals of up to 60 years.
This flowering is synchronized in large areas. After flowering, the above-ground parts of the plant wither, which causes the bamboo to disappear from large areas at once, making it difficult for animals who live off bamboo. Some plants die completely, but most survive and after a short time new shoots grow from the underground root system, after which the plant continues its cycle. Bamboo is a hugely resistant plant. It has antibacterial properties and can grow largely without the use of pesticides.
In some cases, it may be necessary to give the newly planted stems a little bit of pesticide, to get them started if they are planted on a used field. But thereafter no pesticides or fungicides are required. Bamboo only requires small amounts of sun and water to grow, so it is a non-resource-intensive crop.
That bamboo in fact us a resistant plant was ultimately proved in 1945 when it was the only plant surviving the radiation from the bombing of Hiroshima. The heat from the atomic bomb destroyed all trees and other plant life, except for a bamboo grove which later grew up again. "A sustainable plant that paves the way"
WHERE DOES BAMBOO GROW?
Bamboo is native to Africa, Asia, South America, North America and Australia. Bamboo grows in tropical and subtropical areas. Bamboo is found in many areas as secondary vegetation in forests, but in some cases they are the dominant vegetation. In other words bamboo is a resource us Europeans are forced to import and that is of course a minus on the sustainability account.
On the other hand, bamboo plantations have a positive effect on CO2 emissions, as bamboo absorbs five times more CO2 and produces 35% more oxygen than a similar amount of trees. The bamboo species that can grow in Europe are not as fast growing, and do not grow as tall, as the bamboo that grows in China, for example.
Bamboo can tolerate extreme conditions that most plants cannot. Some species can grow anywhere, both on plantations at sea level, in areas in the Andes at an altitude of over 4000 meters and in the Himalayas where they withstand temperatures well below -20 degrees. Bamboo is better for the soil it grows in than other crops. The roots remain in the soil at harvest. The plant continues to grow at the same time as the roots prevent erosion of the soil and thus less agricultural soil is needed.
This prevents deforestation and provides more space to grow other crops, such as food. Bamboo used for industrial use comes from a different species of bamboo than the bamboo eaten by pandas, and the industrial bamboo is not grown in areas that are part of the animals' natural habitat. About 100 species are used commercially, and 20 of these are prioritized species for those who want to start a bamboo plantation.
HOW DO BAMBOO PLANTS TURN INTO BEAUTIFUL AND SOFT TEXTILES?
Read more here.