To raise awareness amongst people about Bamboo, World Bamboo Day is observed on 18th September worldwide. As Bamboo is used for numerous medicinal and different purposes, the World Bamboo Organisation (WBO) take measures to raise awareness about Bamboo, save this natural resource and the environment, and ensure its sustainable use.
World Bamboo Day is a day of celebration to increase the awareness of bamboo globally. Where bamboo grows naturally, bamboo has been a daily element, but its utilization has not always been sustainable due to exploitation. The World Bamboo Organization aims to bring the potential of bamboo to a more elevated exposure – to protect natural resources and the environment, to ensure sustainable utilization, to promote new cultivation of bamboo for new industries in regions around the world, as well as promote traditional uses locally for community economic development.
It is estimated that there are more than two billion hectares – that is nearly 5 billion acres – of deforested and degraded land around the world waiting for human intervention to save it, to nourish it, and breathe new life into it. The health of our planet needs us to do something big – as soon as possible.
In many cases, the natural biome in these regions will never return due to toxic pollution that has led to collapsed ecosystems and the extinction of local flora and fauna. However dismal, these lands can recover and regain ecological functionality – admittedly with collaborative inputs from stakeholders, integrated goal-setting, and sustainable management practices.
When considering the optimization of forest ecosystem goods and services as societal needs change- and new challenges arise – bamboo has a tremendous role to play. We’ve heard about planting trees – yes – but it is also time to plant bamboo.
Bamboo is resilient & adaptable – with immense biodiversity. Bamboo species can restore land. Their unique characteristics of quick growth, extensive root systems, and pioneer spirit can reduce erosion, stabilize slopes, absorb heavy metals, create shade, harbour wildlife, recycle carbon dioxide, and clean the air. Planting and managing sustainable bamboo forests allows for multiple social benefits, including rural development (improved housing), agroforestry products (which includes nutritional food and alternative fibre), with the big bonus of climate mitigation.
Bamboos are natural flora in temperate, tropical and subtropical parts of the globe, native on every continent except Europe and Antarctica, and the latest estimates are that there may be some 50 million hectares of bamboo around the world. That’s nearly 124 million acres.
Bamboo fits well into a landscape mosaic of interdependent land uses. Degraded lands around the globe, with diverse habitats, could be replanted with bamboo.
The United Nations has declared 2021 to 2030 as the ‘Decade on Ecosystem Restoration’ – a massive global ‘call to action’ to mobilize the political and financial support necessary to restore deforested and degraded ecosystems over the coming decade. As a member of the UN’s Global Compact, the World Bamboo Organization endorses this initiative, and sees real potential where bamboo can help with many of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
The World Bamboo Organization has also signed The Kew Declaration on Reforestation for Biodiversity, Carbon Capture and Livelihoods to protect and restore the world’s forests. This important manifesto outlines key requests to policymakers, reforestation financiers and practitioners, to enable better decision-making for global reforestation to safeguard forest biodiversity, mitigate climate change and improve livelihoods.
Here are some of the beneficial properties of Bamboo.
- Diverse Uses: Bamboo is one of the most versatile and valuable plants that can be used in more than 1500 ways, including the use as an alternative to wood, construction and building material, food, handicrafts, and paper. In addition, due to its flexible nature and numerous uses, Bamboo is often known as ‘poor man’s timber.’
- Environmental Benefits: People can plant Bamboo trees to reclaim severely debased areas and wastelands. In addition, Bamboo is an excellent soil binder, given its unique clump shape and fibrous root method, and hence also plays a crucial part in water and soil conservation. It is one of the most quickly-growing canopies, emitting around 35% more oxygen than trees, and can consume approximately 12 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per hectare.
- A key ingredient in COVID Treatment: Bamboo has remained a primary component in new antimicrobial hand mists and soaps created by scientists from the Philippines to combat the COVID virus.
- Bamboo shoots have nutraceutical properties: According to various global experts, the shoots of the Bamboo plant have nutraceutical properties. The word ‘nutraceutical’ is used to represent nutritionally or medicinally useful food items. Bamboo sprouts or shoots are the palatable newly grown canes of Bamboo that grow just under the ground and have a strong, brittle texture. It is why these Bamboo shoots have safe and high-quality edible and nutritive immunity boosters for improving the human body’s resistance to viral infections. In addition, Bamboo shoots further comprise 17 amino acids, eight out of which are necessary for the human body.
Interesting Facts About Bamboo
- The Bamboos (Bambusoidaea) consists of 1439 different species in 116 genera. It is one of the 12 subfamilies of the grass family (Poaceae) and the only one to diversify in forests. Bamboo is a great plant for individuals concern with a green environment.
- Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on this planet. It has been recorded growing at an amazing 47.6 inches in a 24-hour period.
- Bamboo is a crucial element in the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. A grove of bamboo release 35% more oxygen than an equivalent stand of trees. Because of this, planting bamboo is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and help fight global warming.
- Bamboo is a viable replacement for wood. It can be harvest in 3-5 years versus 10-20 for most softwoods. It can out yield pine 6 to 1 in biomass production. It is also one of the strongest building materials with a tensile strength of 28,000 psi. To help give you an idea how much this is, mild steel measures 23,000 psi.
- It is a great soil conservation tool. It greatly reduces erosion with a sum of stem flow rate and canopy intercept of 25%. This dramatically reduces rain run-off, preventing massive soil erosion and making it very earth friendly.
- Bamboo can be eaten (new shoots), made into fibre for clothing, it can be used in concrete reinforcement, in can provide great livestock feed with the foliage being up to 22% protein, it can be machined into numerous forms of lumber, etc. It might be easier to compile a list of what bamboo cannot be used for than what it is used for.
- Bamboo can also tolerate extreme conditions that most plants cannot. It was actually the first plant to re-green after the atomic blast in Hiroshima in 1945.