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Important facts about bamboo

“Bamboo can tolerate extreme conditions that most plants cannot. It was actually the first plant to re-green after the atomic blast in Hiroshima in 1945.”

Bamboo is one of the most important nature’s substitutes for the endangered rainforest hardwoods.  It is a versatile and quick-growing forest product – almost 4 feet a day! – whose rate of biomass generation is unsurpassed by any other plant.

Uses of Bamboo

Bamboo is utilized extensively for a wide range of purposes. The strength of the culms, their straightness, smoothness, lightness combined with hardness and greater hollowness; the facility and regularity with which they can be split; the different sizes, various lengths, and thickness of their joints make them suitable for numerous end products/purposes. The versatility of bamboo outmatches most tree species. It is known to be a natural and excellent raw material for manufacturing strong and sturdy furniture, handicrafts, and novelty items.

In fact, bamboo is useful for various applications at different ages:

<30 days – good for eating
6-9 months – for making baskets, ornaments
2-3 years – for bamboo boards or laminations, furniture
3-6 years – for construction
>6 years – bamboo gradually loses strength up to 12 years old

No other plant material can rival the utility of bamboo. Even in the early years, bamboo had been used in many ways, not to mention the traditional use of bamboo in the daily life of the early people especially in Asia. Thomas Edison successfully used a carbonized bamboo filament in his experiment with the first light bulb. He also used a bamboo as rebar for the reinforcement of his swimming pool. Similarly, Alexander Graham Bell made use of bamboo for his first phonograph needle. To this day, an innumerable application of bamboo can be thought of.

Source: Adams, C. (n.d.). Bamboo Architecture and Construction with Oscar Hidalgo (http://www.networkearth.org/naturalbuilding/bamboo.html).

 

How fast does bamboo grow?

The sprouts that shoot up from the ground each spring can grow 12 inches (30 cm) a day.

How many species are there and where does it grow?

There are almost 1500 species of bamboo in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Australia, North and South America. Bamboo grows on different altitudes and under various climate conditions.

Is bamboo a grass and who eats it mostly?

Giant bamboos are the largest members of the grass family. Bamboo is the main food of the giant panda, making up 99% of its diet.


 


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