Column: Life on Earth

This week’s topic: Bamboo

By Elle Storoe

There are more than 1,000 different species of bamboo. Full grown bamboo can range from one foot to more than 100 feet, depending on the species. Bamboo is very important for the environment, and as it turns out, it’s even better than trees. One grove of bamboo can release up to 35% more oxygen than an equivalent stand of trees. It is a crucial element in the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Not only does it release more oxygen than trees, but bamboo is also a viable replacement for wood. Bamboo has a shorter harvesting time of three to five years, compared to other softwood harvesting times which can range from 10 to 20 years. Close to one million acres of forests are destroyed each week worldwide due to deforestation. 

A bamboo forest in Japan
Courtesy of National Geographics

Growing bamboo forests and using bamboo instead of wood can drastically reduce that number and can help protect the forests that are left. The bamboo that is harvested can replace wood for almost every application, including paper, furniture, clothes, utilities, building materials, and so much more. 

How Bamboo Helps the Earth

Bamboo can grow in various weather conditions and is easy to take care of. Since bamboo releases so much oxygen, planting bamboo is a great way to help reduce our carbon footprint and help fight global warming.