This would mean more income for bamboo farmers. Commercial bamboo farming has the potential to create thousands of jobs, since it is labour intensive.
How fast does bamboo grow?
Bamboo plants are typically planted, maintained and harvested by hand. In Ghana, about 1, people were employed when a commercial project started recently. In China, the bamboo industry employs nearly 8 million people, a number that is expected to hit 10 million by , according to INBAR. A bamboo plant matures in four to eight years, depending on the species; however, it can be harvested as a perennial crop, without deforestation, three to five years after initial planting.
Planting Bamboo Plants
It can be sustainably harvested for well over 40 years. Once it starts growing, bamboo remains rooted in the soil, producing new shoots each year. This helps secure the soil and maintain slope stability. That bamboo is versatile and has lots of potential is not in doubt. As awareness grows, more countries are turning to bamboo.
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African governments also face the challenges of equipping farmers with bamboo planting and maintenance skills, supplying seedlings and teaming up with the private sector for processing and value addition. Moreover, despite promising market potential, those who wish to commercialize bamboo products still face hurdles such as a lack of research, product innovation and marketing skills. Another challenge is to accurately designate bamboo to meet international trade and forestry standards. The question is whether bamboo species are invasive, considering their characteristics, such as rapid growth.
A statement by the American Bamboo Society says the plant has a low potential for invasiveness but recognizes that some running bamboo species can be aggressive spreaders if not well maintained. INBAR is providing its member states with information on the issue, such as what species are best for different soils and how to maintain, intercrop and harvest bamboo plants. Already China and The Netherlands have agreed to fund a joint project in Africa.
To fully benefit from the bamboo boom, the private sector needs to be at the heart of green economy development in order to drive demand and provide investment. Again, value addition needs to be more innovative if African bamboo is to take the global market by storm.
FAQ about growing and controlling bamboo
However, there are those on the continent calling for proper planning before going full blast on bamboo. The effects of climate change are being felt in Africa; countries, organisations and individuals, including young people, are taking actions to tackle these effects. In this edition, we highlight some outstanding climate action initiatives by young Africans. Skip to main content. Welcome to the United Nations.
Toggle navigation Language:. Africa Renewal. Get our app. The new economic force is generating income, creating jobs and protecting the environment. Zipporah Musau. The subfamily Bambusoidaea consists of both woody and herbaceous bamboos with altogether identified species in different genera. About species are used commercially, of which 20 are identified as priority species for those wishing to start bamboo plantation.
Apart from those commercially important species, many attractive ornamental bamboos are grown in nurseries for landscaping purposes. Bamboo comprises of many different species which all have unique growth rates and characteristics. Saying that bamboo grows 1 meter a day is misleading as not all bamboo species grow that fast. Therefore, one should always specify the species.
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These growth rates can be established in shooting season, and when optimal soil and climate conditions are present. The time-lapse video below for example, also mentions a growth rate of up to 1 meter a day for the Chinese Moso bamboo Phyllostachys edulis.
Another bamboo species which has been reported to have incredible fast growth rates is Madake bamboo Phyllostachys bambusoides.
Herbaceous bamboos are usually small and resemble grass and are only a few centimiters tall, while woody bamboos depending on the species can grow up to 30 m tall and 20 cm in diameter, hence the reason they are often confused for being "trees". The bamboo species Dendrocalamus sinicus is considered the largest bamboo in the world reaching 40 m in height and 30 cm in diameter.
The incinerating heat destroyed all trees and other plant life, except for one bamboo grove. The grove has since been removed, but culms from the grove are preserved in a museum in Hiroshima. Less than a year after he developed the first practical light bulb , Thomas Edison designed a new version that had all the essential features of a modern light bulb; an incandescent filament in an evacuated glass bulb with a screw base.
The most critical factor was finding the right material for the filament, the part inside the light bulb that glows when an electric currant is passed through it. Edison tested more than 1, materials, including coconut fiber, fishing line, even hairs from a worker's beard. Finally, Edison ended up using bamboo fiber for the filament.
Edison and his team discovered that carbonized bamboo had the capacity to conduct electrical currant , and that it could last more than hours, more than any other material at the time.
The immensely popular ornamental house plant that is believed to bring positive energy and prosperity for those who place it in house or office, is in fact not a bamboo at all! Lucky bamboo, which originates from the African continent, is widely cultivated in China and Taiwan and exported worldwide. Unlike real bamboos, lucky bamboo grows very slow at about 10 cm annually. It is hypothesized that the first humans to populate the areas of Southeast Asia relied on bamboo instead of stone as the main building material.
The number of artifacts found from that area indicates that stone wasn't nearly as popular as bamboo in that part of the world at that time. But now it is possible for bamboo to grow almost anywhere. Between 1, and 1, species of bamboo have been found thus far and they grow all over the world, depending on what kind of climates the particular species can tolerate. Most commonly, bamboo is found in places that qualify as tropical, sub-tropical, or temperate zones. Some species of bamboo have been known to grow well indoors in less temperate parts of the world.
These species should be hardier types, such as those which can grown in areas that are considered temperate, or zones 4 through 8 in gardening terms. Many species of bamboo have become staples in gardens and landscaping for gardeners that are trying to achieve a more unique look. The woody grass can be used as a backdrop for some general landscaping or as a more modern look for a smaller garden.
Many gardeners like bamboo because it reaches its full potential in the spring before many other types of plants have even budded and bamboo returns every year until its life cycle ends, which is different for each type of bamboo.