The Incredible Bamboo Plant – (Part 2)
The eco-friendliness of bamboo
Bamboo is one of the most eco-friendly materials on the planet, from how it’s grown to the method of harvesting to how it gets to your door.
1. Repairing Damaged Soil
Bamboo plants can grow in infertile soil, which probably has some complicated scientific explanation, but it sounds like sorcery to us. When it grows in the barren ground, it provides farmers with an income (as they can now increase things where they previously couldn’t) and it repairs the land.
How does it make the soil fertile again? The nutrient-rich leaves of the bamboo plant will drop off during growth or harvest and fall onto the ground below where they will decompose and transfer those nutrients into the soil. Magic!
2. Countering deadly toxins
You probably know that all plants serve as the lungs of the earth. They take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen during photosynthesis, which means that humans and animals can breathe easier. But you might not know that bamboo actually takes in 4 times more CO2 than your typical plant and thereby releases more oxygen.
Bamboo can even remove toxins from the earth. Phytoremediation, which sounds like a Harry Potter spell, is a process where bamboo removes lead and mercury from the earth and traps them inside its stalk. When the stalk is harvested, as opposed to dying and decomposing, the toxins remain inside the stem where they pose no danger to humans.
Plus, bamboo is grown without pesticides so there’s no spraying of chemicals that can be hazardous to human health, unlike other plants.
3. A rapidly, renewable resource
You know how people are always saying that trees take hundreds of years to grow into forests? Well, it turns out that trees take the better part of a century to mature enough to be cut down for use as tables, chairs, floorboards, etc.
You know how long it takes bamboo plants to mature? Five years. That means that the plants being harvested now were only planted/last cut down in 2013.
4. Harvested by hand
Another way that bamboo is incredibly eco-friendly is the way in which it's accumulated. For thousands of years, bamboo forests have been collected by hand, which means no heavily polluting feller is kicking out CO2. It also creates a safer environment for the animals and plants that near the bamboo because the farmers can spot them as they go along and take measure not to harm them.
Harvesting the bamboo on a regular basis is super important for the local eco-system. Cutting down the super tall bamboo, allows the sunlight to nourish smaller plants that would be otherwise hidden. Don’t forget that sunlight gives plants their food through photosynthesis.
The farmers even mark the bamboo plants with ribbons or spray paints, as seen in the photo below, to ensure that they harvest them at the optimum time for that plant. They don’t just plant and accumulate entire sections at a time, as that would profoundly disrupt the local ecosystem, affecting plant diversity and disturbing animal habitats.
5.The great bamboo regeneration
As mentioned above, bamboo is a grass. The means that much like your lawn at home, it regenerates when the stalk is cut. It also means that when bamboo is harvested, the plant doesn’t need to be uprooted.
Other plants that do need to be uprooted (i.e., trees) will leave a massive hole in the earth that the surrounding soil will fall into. This is not just unsightly, and it’s also pretty dangerous for the surrounding area.
This land will be much less stable, and topsoil could be easily washed away during heavy rain or blown away by strong winds. This soil erosion is dangerous because it can contribute to decreased soil fertility, lower levels of water quality, and even mudslides.