Bamboo -The Miracle Plant!
Bamboo is a renewable resource. Bamboo is a family of grass and not a tree. It matures quickly in as little as three to five years, much faster than hardwood trees which can take upwards of twenty years or more to reach maturity. Some species of bamboo grow more than three feet each day. Bamboo sends out new shoots after each harvest and hence there is no need for additional planting or cultivation.
Bamboo absorbs greenhouse gases. Bamboo has unrivalled capacity to capture carbon and releases 35% more oxygen into the atmosphere than an equivalent stand of hardwood trees.
Bamboo doesn’t need any fertilizer or pesticide to grow. Unlike most cash crops, bamboo requires no agricultural chemicals to thrive. Moreover, it requires less energy and water to grow.
Bamboo grows in a variety of conditions. Bamboo can grow in arid regions where droughts cause other crops to fail and since the roots are left in place after harvesting, it helps to preserve vital moisture in the soil. From low wetlands to higher elevations in the mountains, bamboo thrives in a wide range of climates.
Bamboo helps in soil protection. When hardwood forests are clear-cut, erosion inevitably occurs as the topsoil and nutrients are washed away by rainfall. The eroded soil then clogs rivers and streams and affects the lives of people and animals living downstream. Bamboo sends out new shoots after each harvest. It protects steep slopes, soils and water ways and prevents soil erosion.
Bamboo is a versatile material. Bamboo can replace the use of wood for nearly every application. Paper, flooring, furniture, charcoal, building materials, and much more can be made from bamboo. Almost 1 million acres of forests are lost each week worldwide to deforestation. Bamboo’s versatility as a substitute for hardwoods offers a chance to drastically reduce that figure and protect the forests that we have left.
Bamboo has numerous healthy properties. Bamboo has had the smallest number of allergic reactions with people. It has a natural property called bamboo kun that kills up to 70% of any bacteria. It wicks away moisture and has strong deodorizing properties. Bamboo has the capacity to block harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun. Bamboo shoots have been found to have anti-inflammatory properties and anti-oxidants.
Bamboo can foster green living. Promotion of the benefits of using bamboo products as ecologically friendly can lead to fostering of green living and help build a sustainable future.
Most importantly, bamboo has immense economic potential. Hailed as the new super material, Bamboo has immense business potential. It holds great promise in generating income and employment, especially in the rural areas. China is leading this emerging market place with close to 50% share currently. Apart from China, other countries like Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam are making tremendous growth and progress in bamboo business. Growing awareness about the environment and rising demand for eco-friendly products are also giving impetus to bamboo products. India has the largest area and the second largest reserve of bamboo in the world. Bamboo has the potential to transform the country’s rural economy and contribute to the sustainable development efforts of the country.