Why Bamboo is a renewable resource
Updated: Sep 2, 2021
With over a thousand different species covering over 30 million hectares of land globally, bamboo’s significant value as a renewable resource is being increasingly recognised across the world. But what is it that makes bamboo such a highly renewable resource? Here we discuss its many properties.
What is a renewable resource?
Before we dive into bamboo’s impressive list of qualities, we first need to consider what defines a renewable resource.
According to Investopedia’s definition, a renewable resource is “a substance of economic value that can be replaced or replenished in the same amount or less time as it takes to draw the supply down. Some renewable resources have essentially an endless supply, such as solar energy, wind energy and geothermal pressure, while other resources are considered renewable even though some time or effort must go into their renewal, such as wood, oxygen, leather and fish”.
Bamboo grows quickly
Part of what makes bamboo such a highly renewable resource is its fast growth rate. Bamboo is the fastest growing plant in the world - with growth rates of up to 1 metre per day! You can literally watch it grow before your eyes. In comparison to other plants and trees that often take decades to mature, bamboo can be harvested every 3-5 years depending on the species and regrows quickly after being cut down.
Harvesting bamboo does not cause soil erosion
Unlike most trees and plants that are harvested, bamboo does not cause soil erosion because its root system remains intact. Once harvested, its extensive root system will simply grow a new shoot and help protect the soil from erosion. The plant’s health is actually improved by cutting it, with a bamboo plant able to be harvested and regrown over 150 times.
Bamboo doesn't require chemicals to grow
Another highly valuable quality about bamboo is the fact that it requires no agricultural chemicals to grow. It simply grows on its own - needing no fertilizers, pesticides or irrigation. Cotton, in comparison, is grown using 12% of the world’s pesticides, which depletes nutrients in the soil and adds harmful chemicals into cotton fabrics.
Reducing global warming
Bamboo’s environmental benefits also extend to its ability to help fight climate change. Not only does it sequester more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than the equivalent number of trees, but it also is said to produce 35% more oxygen and clean air as well. It’s ability to absorb greenhouse gases in such large quantities gives it great potential for stabilising our atmosphere and reducing the planet’s environmental damage!