The Beautiful World of Bamboo

Bamboo is one of nature’s most versatile substitutes for the endangered rainforest hardwoods. There are so many beautiful and useful things you can do with it.

To many people, bamboo means China. But it’s not just panda food — mountain gorillas in Rwanda also live on bamboo. Food apart, there is so much more you can do with Bamboo.

Did you know? Thomas Edison successfully used a carbonized bamboo filament in his experiment with the first light bulb. Similarly, Alexander Graham Bell made use of bamboo for his first phonograph needle.

Bamboo is an important component of development wherein all types of people have adequate access to. It requires little attention during its growing/production cycle and can occupy the same ecological niche as that of trees. It is well suited for agroforestry and healthy ecosystems. It requires only a modest capital investment to generate a steady income. Around the globe, a lot of individuals and communities are dependent on bamboo for their subsistence, shelter and every-day utilities.

Bamboo is one of nature’s most important substitutes for the endangered rainforest hardwoods. It is a quick-growing, versatile, non-timber forest product whose rate of biomass generation is unsurpassed by any other plants.

How does bamboo improve on hardwood? Cut down a hardwood tree and it’s gone. It will take several decades for another to grow in its place; it can take a century for a forest to grow back after cutting. But bamboo is a grass, not a tree. Under the right conditions, it can grow a full meter a day — you can literally watch it grow. It is also fast maturing. A new bamboo plant is mature enough to harvest after three to six years, depending on the species. Most important, bamboo is renewable. Unlike hardwood trees, bamboo regrows after harvesting, just as grass regrows after cutting. After it is mature, bamboo can be harvested every single year for the life of the plant.

Bamboo is utilized extensively for a wide range of purposes. The strength of the culms, their straightness, smoothness, lightness combined with hardness and greater hollowness; the facility and regularity with which they can be split; the different sizes, various lengths and thickness of their joints make them suitable for numerous end products/purposes. The versatility of bamboo outmatches most tree species. It is known to be a natural and excellent raw material for manufacturing strong and sturdy furniture, handicrafts, and novelty items.

Bamboo is an effective erosion control plant and natural control barrier due to its widespread root system and large canopy, which reduces runoff, prevents massive soil erosion.

Bamboo also helps mitigate water pollution due to its high nitrogen consumption; minimizes CO2 gases (sequesters up to 12 tons of CO2 from the air per hectare); and generates up to 35% more oxygen then equivalent stand of trees.

Uses of Bamboo

Bamboo is used for building roads. Bamboo is used for medicinal purposes. Bamboo is used to promote fertility in cows. Bamboo is used to build houses and schools. Bamboo is used to make clothes. Bamboo is used to make accessories. Bamboo is used to make furniture. Bamboo is used to make rugs. Bamboo is used to make toys. Bamboo is used to make durable utensils. Bamboo is used to make musical instruments. And more. Put simply, no other plant material can rival the utility of bamboo.

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Avinash Subramaniam

Avinash has been an advertising writer, fiction writer, poetry writer, freelance writer and serial wronger. Other roles he has been in include those of an editor, brand builder, and teacher. His interests include advertising, scrabble, body building, chess, cinema, making money, reading, internet culture, cricket, photography. To hear him air his thoughts, follow him on Twitter @armchairexpert.


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