About Bamboo, the Giant Grass
Bamboo forest ecosystem. A dense, evergreen bamboo forest is a peaceful and
magical place. As the wind bends the flexible bamboo, the poles clack and the leaves
whisper. Bamboo has inspired human beings for millenia.
The fastest growing plant. Bamboo is not a tree, it is a giant grass. Some species
grow four feet in one day! Bamboo reaches full height in one growth spurt of about two
months. When bamboo is harvested, the root system is unharmed and healthy, ready to
produce more shoots, just like a grass lawn.
1500 varieties. Bamboo grows naturally in the
tropical world extending to temperate climates.
Running bamboo spreads underground and pops up
like a weed. Clumping bamboo is preferred because it
remains in the area it is planted. 5000 uses. For
thousands of years, bamboo has benefited people in
Asia, Africa, South America: building materials with the
strength of steel, furniture, weapons (first rocket was a
bamboo tube stuffed with gunpowder), writing and
musical instruments, fuel, food, medical products.
Bamboo for building. Some grows so large it is called timber bamboo- 120 feet high
and 13" diameter. Thick bamboo poles are 2-3 times stronger than comparable size of
wood timber. Bamboo can be harvested in 7 years versus 10-50 years for softwoods and
hardwoods, yielding up to 20 times more than wood. One bamboo clump can produce
200 poles in the five years it takes one tree to reach maturity. Bamboo can be
sustainably harvested and replenished with virtually no impact to the environment.
Grow your own home. It's a renewable resource for housing, flooring, paneling, fencing
and more. In the tropics, it's possible to grow your own home. In Costa Rica, 1000
bamboo houses have been built annually from a 60 hectare (150 acre) plantation.
Download 4 page brochure about Growing Bamboo. PDF file size 400 k.
Bamboo's Role in Environmental Restoration
Our biosphere is suffering from resource depletion, habitat loss, species extinction and