Friday, September 22, 2006

Bamboo--the versatile, sustainable, eco-wonder

In Dance Rose and other villagers roll out a bamboo dance floor for a night of dancing under the stars.

Used worldwide for food, medicine, clothing, furniture, housing, bicycles, weapons, boats, packaging, kitchen and household utensils, bamboo is the eco-wonder of the world.

Stronger than hardwood, and touted as the fastest growing plant on the planet (some species grow 1-3 feet a day), bamboo is a highly renewable resource. Resilient and persistent, bamboo is reported to have survived the bombing of Hirsohima, according to the Florida Caribbean Chapter of the American Bamboo Society.

But that's not all. Bamboo consumes carbon dioxide and soil toxins and returns 30 percent more oxygen to the atmosphere than trees. Because of its rapid growth and root structure, it can stabilize soil destroyed by overgrazing and over-building.

And if all that weren't enough, bamboo is just plain beautiful.

Native to all continents except Europe and Antarctica, bamboo grows in climates both tropical and frigid. There are estimated to be more than 1200 species worldwide, with about 450 of them in the Americas, according to Gilberto Cortes, Regional Director of Bamboo in the Americas. Only one species, Arundinaria gigantea, commonly known as Cane Brake or Cane Reed, is native to the United States.

Using bamboo does not mean we are off the hook environmentally. Bamboo is the major food for endangered pandas, bamboo lemurs, and mountain gorillas, whose habitat shrinks daily.

Civilization increasingly encroaches on bamboo forests and plantations. Make sure the bamboo products you purchase are from sustainable plantations that do not destroy habitat or endanger other species.

For more information on bamboo, its uses, and the people and creatures who depend on it, visit these sites:


  1. Wonderful! I wanted to put a bamboo floor in my office, but it didn't work out. I went with tile instead. Maybe next project I can do it. I LOVE bamboo.

  2. Yes, bamboo floors are gorgeous--and hip!

  3. Bamboo. It isn't just for Pandas anymore!

    Seriously....this was such an interesting piece. Thanks!

  4. I considered building a straw bale house and bamboo is sometimes used in the construction. It have fond memories of it growing on the river bank beside a house I used to own in Kentucky.

  5. I bet a bamboo supplier would pay you to advertise their stock! Your post compels me to want to buy bamboo!


Join the dialogue. Post a comment here. Please keep it clean for all audiences. Spam will be deleted immediately.