5 Facts You Didn’t Know About Bamboo Forests
Bamboo is the fastest growing plant in the world. It also offers lots of environmental and economic benefits. How can bamboo forests help the environment? What can bamboo forests do to support nature and local communities? Read on as Bamboo Bioproducts share 5 facts you didn't know about bamboo forests.
1. Bamboo Absorbs Greenhouse Gases
Bamboo forests can absorb carbon from the atmosphere and store it in their roots and biomass. As bamboo is grass, when you cut it, the roots remain alive and do not liberate carbon into the atmosphere as tree roots do when cut.
So long as a tree lives, the carbon it sequesters stays within it – and trees can live for decades or centuries. But when trees are cut, much of the carbon stored within them escapes into the air. As bamboo is grass, when cut, the roots (and the lower culm) stay in the soil, so carbon does not escape like it would when a tree is cut.
This means that bamboo's growth habits not only allow it to produce more oxygen than equivalent stands of trees, but also ensure it absorbs and stores carbon effectively. Something important to consider, however, is that bamboo forests should be well-managed sustainably to boost their storage carbon potential. At Bamboo Bioproducts, we are preparing to use the best silvicultural practices available for our bamboo forests to ensure optimal carbon-capturing.
Related article: Bamboo Trial Plots Commence
2. Bamboo as a tool to restore soil function
When technically managed, bamboo forests can restore soil function and raise the water tables due to their extensive network of roots and rhizomes. Other plants like cotton rapidly drain the nutrients in the soil. As bamboo roots endure after harvesting, they prevent erosion and maintain nutrients. Furthermore, the leaves, branches and stems from bamboo contribute to nutrient circulation, preserving soil fertility.
3. Bamboo as a tool for restoring land
Some countries like China, Kenya, India and Madagascar are including bamboo forests in their sustainable land management programs for restoration. According to INBAR, there are 4 main reasons why bamboo is part of land restoration programmes:
● Its root system is capable of controlling floods and preventing erosion;
● Bamboo grows fast so it can revegetate a zone in short periods;
● It promotes water percolation and infiltration, as well as groundwater recharge;
● The plant can be used in rural communities to create products or produce bio-energy.
Related article: The benefits of bamboo as a tool for land restoration
4. Bamboo as an energy source
The biological and chemical composition of bamboo is useful for producing green fuel and energy, alleviating the use of wood and fossil fuels.
INBAR case studies share the use of bamboo biomass in countries including China, India and Brazil as substitutions for wood fuel products. INBAR also speaks of an initiative in Indonesia that has identified bamboo as the ideal biomass to power small-scale generators for remote communities.
5. Bamboo’s economic role
The bamboo market is expected to grow in the next few years. As it does, bamboo is expected to further benefit local communities. Sustainably managed bamboo forests can support rural communities by creating jobs and supporting economic development.
At Bamboo Bioproducts, in alliance with the Jamaican government, we plan to harvest one million metric tons of bamboo per year in Jamaica by transforming approximately 25,000 acres of idle lands into prosperous, sustainable bamboo forest farmland. This will include Government of Jamaica lands in partnership with the Sugar Company of Jamaica and privately-owned lands. Smaller landowners who desire to become bamboo suppliers for Bamboo Bioproducts will have the opportunity to join a Mother Farm concept so they can benefit from this economic opportunity also. Find out more here.
Our farmed green bamboo will be processed in our bamboo pulp mill in Jamaica and shipped to global tissue and hygiene product manufacturers. At the same time, we are developing a cooperative scheme for creating bamboo straws and stirrers from bamboo biomass.
Please click here if you are interested in becoming a bamboo supplier.