Bamboo Basics

Some General Facts about Bamboo:

Bamboo is the fastest growing plant (actually a grass) in the world - growing as fast as 47.6 inches in a 24-hour period. The Bamboo used for clothing is not the Bamboo eaten by the Panda.  After planting, Bamboo can be selectively harvested after 3 years, compared to 30 to 50 years for trees.  Bamboo regenerates without replanting and will generally send up 4-6 new shoots for each one harvested. With up to 30% annual increase in biomass versus 2-5% for trees, bamboo can yield 20 times more fiber than trees on the same area.

Bamboo tolerates extremes of drought and drowning, generates 30% more oxygen than trees and is considered a critical element in the balance between oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Because of its wide spread root system and large canopy, bamboo greatly reduces rain run off and prevents massive soil erosion. Bamboo helps mitigate water pollution due to its high nitrogen consumption, making it a solution for excess nutrient uptake of waste water from manufacturing, livestock farming and sewage treatment.

There are over 1,000 species of woody, perennial grasses in more than 100 genera, that are native to every continent except Europe and the poles.  China, due to its land mass, has the largest resource of bamboo - supporting over 400 species.  For over 3,000 years the Chinese people have had a symbiotic relationship with bamboo.

Bamboo is one of the strongest building materials and one of the softest apparel fibers on earth.  Because of its great tensile strengh, its capacity for splitting straight, its hardness, its peculiar cross section (which I'll talk more about later), and the ease with which it can be grown - a combination of useful traits found together in NO other plant - bamboo is one of those providential developments in nature which, like the horse, the cow, wheat and cotton, have been indirectly responsible for man's own evolution.

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