Bamboo benefits the environment in many ways.


It accumulates a considerable quantity of biomass in short time having a low rotation period of 2-5 years. It sequesters atmospheric carbon faster than many fast growing trees. Bamboo plantations are known to conserve top-soil. Thus greater use of bamboo and its products as wood alternates, can help preserve tropical forests and curtail the rapid decline of forest areas.


The biomass production of bamboo depends on the species, site quality, climate etc. The figures vary between 50 and 100 tons per ha, comprising of culm biomass - 60 to 70 %, branches - 10 to 15 %, and foliage - 15 to 20 %.  It has been calculated that in Costa Rica a bamboo plantation is able to capture 17 metric tonnes of carbon per ha per year. This is due to the rapid growth of bamboo: an annual crop of 30 metric tonnes air-dry bamboo per ha per year is easily possible. Of course, any permanent capture of carbon is only valid if the bamboo is used for long-term purposes like housing, i.e. once the bamboo has been burnt, the carbon returns to the atmosphere.


In the Philippines, Kenya and the Andes region bamboo is well known for its capacity to control erosion. In Punjab (India) about 62,000 bamboo clumps were stubbed in 1980 in order to stabilize 311 ha of embankments. These clumps started production with five culms per clump in year five, and were expected to attain the full development level of twelve bamboo culms per clump from year ten onwards - yielding an annual profit of as much as US $70,000.
























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