Why is bamboo so special?


Bamboo is a well-known plant species that is often associated with pandas or seen as a type of tree, although it is actually a species of sweetgrass. It has hollow stems with nodes and leaves, and it can be found in a variety of climates. For example, it occurs in tropical jungles and also in the Himalayas. Bamboo is very special for many reasons, which we will discuss in this article.

Growth

Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on earth. Where a wood requires 20 to 50 years to reach its full height, bamboo will reach its full height after roughly one year of growth at a speed of 5 to 20 centimetres per day. There are even a few species that can grow nearly a meter per day. In comparison to cotton, about 10 times more bamboo can be produced per square meter of land due to this rapid growth. And, when bamboo has reached maturity (which takes some species a couple of months and other species a couple of years), it creates roughly 15 times more wood per hectare than trees. As soon as bamboo sprouts from the ground, it reaches its maximum thickness, after which it will only keep growing in length.

Not only does bamboo grow incredibly fast, but it also grows incredibly high. Bamboo species grow to different heights varying from several centimetres to 30 meters. The thickness of bamboo also differs a lot among the different species, varying from a few millimetres to more than 25 centimetres.

Versatile

The tensile strength of bamboo is higher than the tensile strength of steel. Bamboo is also stronger than wood but also bends further without breaking due to its high ‘flexibility per mass’ density. Meanwhile, with bamboo, you can make very soft clothing. This shows that bamboo is one of the most versatile plants on earth, if not the most versatile plant. It has countless applications, mainly in the construction sector (think of flooring and roofing). For example, in combination with reinforced concrete, bamboo can increase a building’s resistance to earthquakes, which is very useful for building in areas that are prone to earthquakes. But bamboo also has applications in making furniture, clothing, paper, cosmetics and much more.

Bamboo is also a great source of food. Bamboo shoots contain a high fibre content and are low in fat and calorie contents. However, the amount of vitamins and minerals decreases as bamboo gets older. Bamboo shoots also contain amino acids that are necessary for us. It is mainly eaten by people living in China, and by animals from which the panda is best known. The food source is also considered for medical purposes like control and treatment of diabetes and cholesterol.

Worldwide, about 15 to 20 million tonnes of bamboo products are being produced annually at this moment of time, and this number keeps growing as the market for bamboo increases.

Sustainable

Bamboo is a highly sustainable material, and with more than 40 million hectares of bamboo around the world, that makes it one of the best plants when it comes to fighting climate change. Bamboo contributes significantly to the reduction of greenhouse gases. It can store about 5 times more CO2 in its hollow parts than an equal quantity of trees. Moso bamboo represents circa 75% of all Chinese Bamboo forest areas and is known as a carbon sink. Besides absorbing much CO2, bamboo releases about 35% more oxygen than equivalent-sized hardwood forests.

Bamboo is also known to be an excellent wastewater absorber in different industries such as the agricultural industry. It can clean polluted soil to a very high extent. By accumulating silicon to alleviate the metal toxicity, soil-bamboo systems can remove up to 98% to 99% of nutrients and organic matter.

Furthermore, bamboo can counter soil degradation, which includes soil erosion, soil nutrient depletion, and a decrease in biodiversity. The intense management that is needed for bamboo can have a negative effect on the soil microbial activity. But in the form of fine biochar, bamboo actually has a positive effect on microbial activity.

Another sustainable practice that bamboo can serve is being used as biofuel. Because of the high amounts of sugar, it is a suitable plant for making products like bioethanol. Its high yield of biomass in a short amount of time is a big advantage to the production of biofuel. Its overall characteristics make bamboo a good alternative for most other woody plants that can be used to produce biofuel. Producing biogas with bamboo is also possible.

Another sustainable factor of bamboo is that pesticides and other chemicals are not required for bamboo to thrive.

Regenerative

Bamboo is a regenerative plant, which means that growth is stimulated when bamboo is cut. This depends much upon the nature of bamboo’s growth. A cut bamboo stalk will not direct its energy towards regaining its original height, but it will unfurl new leaves. These leaves send energy to the bamboo’s root system, which results in the growth of new shoots. Due to this system, bamboo will regrow naturally. So, for every shoot that you cut off, more shoots will come in the place.

You can also propagate bamboo. This means that you cut sections of the stem and replant these. These bamboo sections grow new roots and become an exact copy of the parent bamboo plant. Propagation is something that you can do yourself, even at home. It shows how easy it is to grow more individual bamboo plants.

Fun facts

Here are some awesome facts about bamboo:

· Bamboo flowers are very rare. Some species even take more than 100 years to develop flowers.

· A bamboo grove was the only form of plant life that survived the radiation and massive heat from the atomic bombings in Japan (Hiroshima in 1945) which shows the resilience of bamboo.

· Bamboo is considered in China as a symbol of values, among which are grace and positivity. The term ‘lucky bamboo’ in Chinese culture comes from the belief that bamboo brings good fortune.

Why is bamboo so special?

Bamboo is a well-known plant species that is often associated with pandas or seen as a type of tree, although it is actually a species of sweetgrass. It has hollow stems with nodes and leaves, and it can be found in a variety of climates. For example, it occurs in tropical jungles and also in the Himalayas. Bamboo is very special for many reasons, which we will discuss in this article.

Growth

Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on earth. Where a wood requires 20 to 50 years to reach its full height, bamboo will reach its full height after roughly one year of growth at a speed of 5 to 20 centimetres per day. There are even a few species that can grow nearly a meter per day. In comparison to cotton, about 10 times more bamboo can be produced per square meter of land due to this rapid growth. And, when bamboo has reached maturity (which takes some species a couple of months and other species a couple of years), it creates roughly 15 times more wood per hectare than trees. As soon as bamboo sprouts from the ground, it reaches its maximum thickness, after which it will only keep growing in length.

Not only does bamboo grow incredibly fast, but it also grows incredibly high. Bamboo species grow to different heights varying from several centimetres to 30 meters. The thickness of bamboo also differs a lot among the different species, varying from a few millimetres to more than 25 centimetres.

Versatile

The tensile strength of bamboo is higher than the tensile strength of steel. Bamboo is also stronger than wood but also bends further without breaking due to its high ‘flexibility per mass’ density. Meanwhile, with bamboo, you can make very soft clothing. This shows that bamboo is one of the most versatile plants on earth, if not the most versatile plant. It has countless applications, mainly in the construction sector (think of flooring and roofing). For example, in combination with reinforced concrete, bamboo can increase a building’s resistance to earthquakes, which is very useful for building in areas that are prone to earthquakes. But bamboo also has applications in making furniture, clothing, paper, cosmetics and much more.

Bamboo is also a great source of food. Bamboo shoots contain a high fibre content and are low in fat and calorie contents. However, the amount of vitamins and minerals decreases as bamboo gets older. Bamboo shoots also contain amino acids that are necessary for us. It is mainly eaten by people living in China, and by animals from which the panda is best known. The food source is also considered for medical purposes like control and treatment of diabetes and cholesterol.

Worldwide, about 15 to 20 million tonnes of bamboo products are being produced annually at this moment of time, and this number keeps growing as the market for bamboo increases.

Sustainable

Bamboo is a highly sustainable material, and with more than 40 million hectares of bamboo around the world, that makes it one of the best plants when it comes to fighting climate change. Bamboo contributes significantly to the reduction of greenhouse gases. It can store about 5 times more CO2 in its hollow parts than an equal quantity of trees. Moso bamboo represents circa 75% of all Chinese Bamboo forest areas and is known as a carbon sink. Besides absorbing much CO2, bamboo releases about 35% more oxygen than equivalent-sized hardwood forests.

Bamboo is also known to be an excellent wastewater absorber in different industries such as the agricultural industry. It can clean polluted soil to a very high extent. By accumulating silicon to alleviate the metal toxicity, soil-bamboo systems can remove up to 98% to 99% of nutrients and organic matter.

Furthermore, bamboo can counter soil degradation, which includes soil erosion, soil nutrient depletion, and a decrease in biodiversity. The intense management that is needed for bamboo can have a negative effect on the soil microbial activity. But in the form of fine biochar, bamboo actually has a positive effect on microbial activity.

Another sustainable practice that bamboo can serve is being used as biofuel. Because of the high amounts of sugar, it is a suitable plant for making products like bioethanol. Its high yield of biomass in a short amount of time is a big advantage to the production of biofuel. Its overall characteristics make bamboo a good alternative for most other woody plants that can be used to produce biofuel. Producing biogas with bamboo is also possible.

Another sustainable factor of bamboo is that pesticides and other chemicals are not required for bamboo to thrive.

Regenerative

Bamboo is a regenerative plant, which means that growth is stimulated when bamboo is cut. This depends much upon the nature of bamboo’s growth. A cut bamboo stalk will not direct its energy towards regaining its original height, but it will unfurl new leaves. These leaves send energy to the bamboo’s root system, which results in the growth of new shoots. Due to this system, bamboo will regrow naturally. So, for every shoot that you cut off, more shoots will come in the place.

You can also propagate bamboo. This means that you cut sections of the stem and replant these. These bamboo sections grow new roots and become an exact copy of the parent bamboo plant. Propagation is something that you can do yourself, even at home. It shows how easy it is to grow more individual bamboo plants.

Fun facts

Here are some awesome facts about bamboo:

· Bamboo flowers are very rare. Some species even take more than 100 years to develop flowers.

· A bamboo grove was the only form of plant life that survived the radiation and massive heat from the atomic bombings in Japan (Hiroshima in 1945) which shows the resilience of bamboo.

· Bamboo is considered in China as a symbol of values, among which are grace and positivity. The term ‘lucky bamboo’ in Chinese culture comes from the belief that bamboo brings good fortune.

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