“Timber Bamboo sequesters 5 to 6 times CO2 than wood during harvesting and processing.”
Bamboo’s fast-growing and renewable stands sequester carbon in their biomass – at rates comparable, or even superior to, a number of tree species. The many durable products made from bamboo can also be potentially carbon-negative, because they act as locked-in carbon sinks in themselves and encourage the expansion and improved management of bamboo forests. A 2015 report by TU Delft, INBAR and Moso BV International found that bamboo could also be a favourable substitute for hardwoods, even FSC-certified ones, given its lower carbon footprint and lower eco-costs.
Substantial amounts of carbon are stored in the bamboo forests of China, the world’s largest, and the total will increase as planned reforestation programmes expand. The carbon stored in Chinese bamboo forests is projected to increase from 727 million tonnes in 2010 to 1018 million tonnes in 2050.
Key fact: Bamboo as a carbon dioxide fixator
Due to the high growing speed of bamboo, plantations are also known for their capacity of fixating carbon dioxide (CO2), one of the major contributors to the green house effect. During their growth, plants convert CO2 through photosynthesis into plant carbohydrates, and emit oxygen in the process. The carbon makes up approximately half of the biomass (dry weight) of the renewable raw material. There is an ongoing discussion about the question whether the fixation capacity of bamboo is larger than that of fast-growing softwood trees.
Studies indicate that a bamboo plantation is capable of fixating an annual amount of 17 tonnes per hectare through new growth. These extremely high numbers can only matched by very fast growing tree species such as Eucalyptus. It should be noted, that these numbers differ per bamboo species, and are strongly influenced by soil and climate conditions. Only the giant baboo species in tropical counties have a very large biomass production.
In short, bamboo has hardwood properties, but grows faster than softwood. The carbon-fixating capacity of bamboo is larger than that of wood.
Bamboo can replace wood in many applications. By laminating bamboo, virtually everything that can be made of wood can be developed in bamboo. Bamboo can easily be processed manually or industrially, can be customized at any size. Due to bamboo’s versatility it’s being used in an increasingly wide range of products.
Bamboo’s rapid establishment and growth allow for frequent harvesting. This allows farmers to flexibly adapt their management and harvesting practices to new growing conditions as they emerge under climate change. Bamboo provides a year-round source of income, and can be converted into an increasingly wide variety of value-added products for sale.
Bamboo has a unique root system with rhizomes. Bamboo roots produce rhizomes. These elements help bamboos to create new plants. This unique root system of bamboo helps to fight deforestation. The extensive root system of bamboo flourishes on problematic soils and steep slopes, helping restore degraded lands and reduce soil erosion.
When bamboo is harvested, new bamboo regrows from its own root system, it doesn’t need to be planted again. Not only is this great from a naturally renewable perspective, but this also means that the soil and roots aren’t disturbed which is great for soil health.
While the bamboo plant only has shallow roots, they develop to create a fibrous network underground which helps to hold the soil together. By not disturbing the roots and soil between harvests, the soil and the micro-environment beneath the surface continue to develop and improve. Soil improvement helps with water absorption, as well as aiding in the prevention of soil erosion. Many areas where bamboo is grown are subject to heavy rain and monsoons during the wet season, and improved soil and healthy roots helps to minimise landslides.
Key fact: Bamboo’s contribution to the ecosystems
Bamboo is integral to many natural and agricultural ecosystems in and near the tropics. It is useful for restoring degraded lands for several reasons: it thrives on problem soils and steep slopes that are unsuitable for other crops, it is an effective windbreak, and its sturdy rhizomes and roots regulate water flows and prevent erosion.
A recently documented case in Allahabad, India, tells of the rebuilding of rural livelihoods where 80,000 hectares of degraded land were brought back into productivity using bamboo as a pioneer species. In 2018, INBAR released a report about the benefits of bamboo for land restoration in eight countries: China, Colombia, Ghana, India, Nepal, South Africa, Tanzania and Thailand.
Bamboo is a versatile and rapidly renewable resource with a wide range of livelihood applications. Its economic role is likely to expand at an accelerating pace – both locally and in international trade – as other forest resources become increasingly strained under climate change, as the imperative to mitigate climate change enforces less dependence on fossil fuels and endangered forest resources, and as research discovers new applications.
Bamboo lends itself to an estimated 10,000 documented uses – everything from furniture and paper to fabrics, processed flooring, and climate-smart housing. Bamboo alone will not solve the world’s climate change problems. But, if this strategic resource is properly harnessed, it offers practical solutions to climate change mitigation and adaptation – and a proven tool to fight rural poverty and restore the natural resource base that is the foundation for economic sustainability.
The International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation (INBAR) is a multilateral development organisation that promotes environmentally sustainable development using bamboo and rattan.
“Bamdura bamboo is the climate champion, sustainable construction material.”
- Rapid growth: The greatest advantage of bamboo is undoubtedly its unparalleled growing speed. As bamboo is a grass, bamboo shoots in tropical countries grow up to 30 metres within six months. The record growth for bamboo is 1.22 metre per day, which is a sought-after property in an era characterized by an increasing strain on raw materials and worldwide wood supplies. Bamboo reaches maturity within three to five years, whereas hardwood trees take several decades to grow.
- Renewable resource: Bamboo is a highly renewable resource. When harvested, the plant’s root system remains intact, allowing it to regrow without the need for replanting. Additionally, cutting down mature bamboo plants stimulates new shoots to emerge, promoting further growth and regrowth cycles. This sustainable harvesting practice ensures a continuous supply of bamboo while minimizing the need for land clearance and reducing the pressure on other timber resources.
- Reduce energy consumption: The processing and manufacturing of bamboo typically require less energy compared to other materials. Bamboo can be processed into various products with relatively low energy inputs. For example, the production of bamboo flooring involves less energy-intensive processes compared to their counterparts made from non-renewable resources.
- Low chemical dependency: Bamboo often requires minimal pesticide or fertilizer use during cultivation. Unlike some conventional crops that heavily rely on chemical inputs, bamboo can thrive without excessive chemical treatments. This reduces the potential environmental impact associated with the use and runoff of agricultural chemicals, further contributing to a lower CO2 footprint.
- Sustainable supply chain: Bamdura Bamboo has a relatively short supply chain, especially due to the fact that our farms are very nearby our own factories so our bamboo is sourced locally. This reduces transportation-related emissions associated with long-distance shipping. Additionally, bamboo products can often be sourced from certified sustainable plantations or managed forests, ensuring responsible and eco-friendly practices throughout the supply chain. Therefore we can supply our bamboo with the FSC certificate.
Key fact: bamboo as an environmentally friendly material.
At an ecological level (Planet), bamboo can be seen as an environmentally friendly material. Environmental impact studies (Life Cycle Analysis) at the Delft University of Technology have shown that the use of bamboo stems in various building applications leads to an improvement in the environment that is up to 20 times higher compared to common building materials such as steel, concrete and wood. Although this environmental advantage is smaller for bamboo boards made of laminated strips because of the long production process, bamboo boards are still an excellent alternative to wood products in terms of environmental impact.
In summary, the benefits of bamboo as a sustainable building material are undeniable. Its rapid growth, superior strength, adaptability, and ecological benefits present it as a compelling response to climate change and the housing crisis. Bamboo is not just an alternative to traditional hardwoods—it’s a symbol of hope for the future of our planet.