DEFORESTATION and increased CO2 emissions threaten the earth's biodiversity and the very air we breathe...
Perhaps the environmental crisis' at hand have not yet touched your life, but the time is shortly to come. Recent NASA reports of a 60% loss of ozone over the arctic provide an explanation for increased severity in the worlds weather patterns which has only begun to affect us whether directly or indirectly. The social, political and economic implications are difficult to imagine as our ozone layer continues to thin, forests disappear and desertization is occurring at an alarming rate.

The earth desperately needs the attention and action of us all or our children's children will surely not have a world fit to live in.  There is no one solution but amazingly, the simple bamboo plant can make a dramatic positive impact in many areas. It is our goal to inform and raise awareness about "Bamboo, People and the Environment" and provide the tools and information to then respond in one's own way in their own world. Every action counts, every person counts...

Thomas Edison successfully used a carbonized bamboo filament in his experiment with the first light bulb. This light bulb still burns today in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC. He also used a bamboo as  rebar for the reinforcement of his swimming pool. To this day, the pool has never leaked. An unrivaled utility, (One resource book lists over 5,000 uses including paper, scaffolding, diesel fuel, airplane "skins", desalination filters, aphrodisiacs, musical instruments, medicine, food and was Alexander Graham Bell's first phonograph needle

Amidst death and destruction, bamboo survived the Hiroshima atomic blast closer to ground zero than any other living thing and provided the first re-greening in Hiroshima after the  blast in 1945.

With a tensile strength superior to mild steel (withstands up to 52,000 Pounds of pressure psi) and a weight-to-strength ratio surpassing that of graphite, bamboo is the strongest growing woody plant on earth with one of the widest ranging habitats of more than 1500 species thriving in diverse terrain from sea level to 12,000 feet on every continent but the poles.  It also grows the fastest: clocked shooting skyward at 2 inches an hour. Some species grow one and a half meters a day.

Bamboo is the fastest growing canopy for the regreening of degraded lands, and its stands release 35% more oxygen than equivalent stands of trees. Some bamboo even sequester up to 12 tons of carbon dioxide from the air per hectare. Bamboo can also lower light intensity and protects against ultraviolet rays. Traditional belief holds that being in a bamboo grove - the favorite dwelling place of Buddha - restores calmness to emotions and stimulates creativity.

Carbon Sequestration Information
Net production and carbon cycling in a bamboo Phyllostachys  pubescens stand.
AU: Isagi-Y; Kawahara-T; Kamo-K; Ito-H
AD: Kansai Research Center, Forestry and Forest Products Research 
Institute, Momoyama, Fushimi, Kyoto 612, Japan.
SO: Plant-Ecology. 1997, 130: 1, 41-52; 48 ref.
PY: 1997
LA: English
AB: Phyllostachys pubescens is one of the largest bamboo species with a leptomorphic (a type of rhizomatous system with solitary culms scattered rather evenly) root system in the world. The species originates in China and has been naturalized in neighbouring countries. It was introduced in 1746 into Japan because of the economic value of the young sprouts and culm woods. It escaped from the planted areas and expanded by invading the native vegetation. In order to clarify the basic ecological characteristics of the species,carbon fixation and cycling were determined in a stand of  Phyllostachys pubescens in Kyoto Prefecture. The standing culm  density and average DBH (diameter at breast height) in 1991 were 7100 ha-1 and 11.3 cm, respectively. The above-ground biomass was 116.5 t ha-1 for culms, 15.5 t ha-1 for branches, 5.9 t ha-1 for leaves and 137.9 t ha-1 in total. The total above-ground biomass is one of the largest among the world's bamboo communities. The biomass of rhizomes and fine roots was 16.7 t ha-1 and 27.9 t ha-1, respectively. Annual soil respiration was 52.3 t CO2 ha-1, the highest among those  determined in Japan. The gross annual production was high, at 32.8 t  C ha-1, and allocation of annual gross production to the root system  was also high at 11 t C ha-1 - 34% of gross production, and 46% of  the fluxes out of the leaves. This pattern of allocation results in a  net annual above-ground production of 18.1 t ha-1, which is within  the average range of productivity of forests under similar climatic  conditions. The correspondence of the allocation pattern of the species with its successful range expansion is discussed.
DE: asexual-reproduction; biological-production; biomass-production; carbon-cycle; bamboos-; nutrients-; distribution-; carbon-; photosynthesis-; stand-characteristics; biomass-; cycling

AN: 950608033
TI: Carbon stock and cycling in a bamboo Phyllostachys  bambusoides stand.
AU: Isagi-Y
AD: Laboratory of Silviculture, Kansai Research Center, Forestry 
and Forest Products Research Institute, Kyoto 612, Japan.
SO: Ecological-Research. 1994, 9: 1, 47-55; 42 ref.
PY: 1994
LA: English
AB: Gross production and carbon cycling in a Phyllostachys bambusoides stand in Kyoto Prefecture, central Japan, were determined, and then a compartment model showing the carbon stock and cycling within the ecosystem was developed. Aboveground carbon stock was 52.3 t/ha, increasing at an annual rate of 3.6 t/ha. Belowground carbon stock was 20.8 t/ha in the root system and 92.0 t/ha in the soil. Aboveground annual net C production was 11.2 t/ha. Belowground annual net C production was crudely estimated at 4.5 t/ha. Gross  annual production was estimated at 41.8 t/ha by summing the amount of  outflow to the environment and the increment in biomass. Leaves  consumed 13.7 t C/ha per year by respiration; the rest (41.8 - 13.7 =  28.1 t C/ha per year) was surplus production of leaves and flowed  into the other compartments. Annual amounts of construction and  maintenance respiration of aboveground compartments were 3.4 and 18.5  t/ha, respectively. The annual amount of soil respiration was 11.2  t/ha. Soil respiration levels of 4.3 and 3.1 t C/ha per year were  estimated for the flow of root respiration and root detritus. The  proportion of net to gross production was 37%, which fell within the  range of young and mature forests. A shorter life span of culms,  compared to tree trunks, resulted in smaller biomass accumulation  ratio (biomass/net production) in the ecosystem, of 4.66.
DE: bamboos-; respiration-; biomass-; carbon-; models-; carbon-
cycle; biomass-production; simulation-; cycling-

A peerless erosion control agent,. it's net like root system create an effective mechanism for watershed protection, stitching the soil together along fragile riverbanks, deforested areas, and in places prone to earthquakes and mud slides. Because of their wide-spreading root system, uniquely shaped leaves, and dense litter on the forest floor, the sum of stem flow rate and canopy intercept of bamboo is 25% which means that bamboo greatly reduces rain run off, preventing massive soil erosion and keeping up to twice as much water in the watershed. Bamboo is a pioneering plant and can be grown in soil damaged by overgrazing and poor agricultural techniques.  Unlike with most trees proper harvesting does not kill the bamboo plant so topsoil is held in place.

Bamboo is one of the strongest building materials. Bamboo's tensile strength is 28,000 pounds per square inch versus 23,000 pounds per square inch for steel. In the tropics it is possible to plant and 'grow your own home;. in Costa Rica, 1000 houses of bamboo are built annually with material coming only from a 60 hectare bamboo plantation. If an equivalent project used timber, it would require 500 hectares of our diminishing tropical rainforests. Using bamboo to replace timber saves the rainforests. With a 10-30% annual increase in biomass versus 2 to 5% for trees, bamboo creates greater yields of raw material for use. One clump can produce 200 poles in the three to five years.   Bamboo  generates a crop every year.

Bamboo is a high-yield renewable resource: "Ply boo" is now being used for wall paneling and floor tiles; bamboo pulp for paper-making; briquettes for fuel, raw material for housing construction; and rebar for reinforced concrete beams. There are 1500 species of bamboo on the earth. This diversity makes bamboo adaptable to many environments. It can be harvested in 3-5 years versus 10-20 years for most softwoods. Bamboo tolerates extremes of precipitation, from 30-250 inches of annual rainfall.

Bamboo related industries already provide income, food, and housing to over 2.2 billion people worldwide. There is a 3-5 year return on investment for a new bamboo plantation versus 8-10 years for rattan. The governments of India and China, with 15 million hectares of bamboo reserves collectively, are poised to focus attention on the economic factors of bamboo and its protection. In Limon, Costa Rica, only bamboo houses from the national Bamboo Project stood after their violent earthquake in 1992. Flexible and lightweight, bamboo enables structures to "dance" in earthquakes.  Go to the "Comparative Strength of Bamboo or Grow Your Own House  page.

FOOD ...
Bamboo shoots provide nutrition for millions of people worldwide. In Japan, the antioxidant properties of pulverized bamboo skin can prevent bacterial growth, and it is used as a natural food preservative. Bamboo :litter: make fodder for animas and food for fish. Taiwan alone consumes 80,000 tons of bamboo shoots annually, constituting a $50 million industry. 
`Bamboo leaves are normally utilized as fodder during scarcity. Young bamboo leaves and twigs are a favorite meal for elephants and the Panda. D. strictus leaves have (on dry matter basis) crude protein,15.09; crude fiber,23.15; ether extract 1.43; ash 18.03; phosphorus-170 and calcium -1550 mg/100g respectively. Their digestible crude protein 
and total digestible nutrient contents are 93.34 and 48.9% respectively. The leaves of B.arundinacea have crude protein 18.64;crude fiber, 24.1; ether extract 4.1; N- free extract 41.4; ash-11.75%; phosphorus-170 mg and calcium 56mg/100g respectively. The digestible crude protein and total digestible nutrient contents are 13.5 and 46.5% respectively. The protein contained methionine and lysine. Copper and zinc are also found. The nutrient contents differed significantly in samples collected from high altitudes.
For B.vulgaris the figures are crude protein,10.1;crude fiber 21.7; ether extract, 2.5 and ash, 21.3%; phosphorus-86,iron-13.4,vitamin B1, 0.1;vitamin B2- 2.54, and carotene 12.3 mg/100g respectively. The meal is used as a supplement to vitamin A deficient diets for chicks '. 
For further details contact either the Bamboo Information Center in India -at KFRI -Tropical species, or The Bamboo Information Center in China-at CAF,Beijing - Temperate species.

Bamboo has for centuries been used in Ayurvedic medicine and Chinese herbal medicine . Tabasheer, the powdered, hardened secretion from bamboo is used internally to treat asthma, coughs and can be used as an aphrodisiac. In China, ingredients from the root of the black bamboo help treat kidney disease. Roots and leaves have also been used to treat venereal disease and cancer. Sap is said to reduce fever, and ash will cure prickly heat. A village in Indonesia reports that the water form within the culm is used to treat broken bones effectively and that the tabasheer is used to promote fertility in their cows. Current research points to bamboo's potential in a number of medicinal uses.

Bamboo is an exquisite component of landscape design. For the human environment bamboo provides shade, wind break, acoustical barriers, and aesthetic beauty. 
"The Bamboo Forest is an ecological wastewater utilization system that essentially grows away, waste, producing a marketable crop in the process. Comprised of a subsurface evaporation-transpiration bed planted with bamboo and other rapid-growing, non-invasive plants, the system is engineered to provide an aerobic rhizosphere (the home of living organisms in the root system), in which damaging polluting components are transformed into plant nutrients" Go to the Discover magazine article on Bamboo used to treat waste water!

Bamboo is a mystical plant: a symbol of strength, flexibility, tenacity, and endurance. Throughout Asia, bamboo has for centuries been integral to religious ceremonies, art, music, and daily life. It can be found in the paper, the brush, and the inspiration for poems and paintings. Some of the earliest historical records form the 2nd century B.C. were written on green bamboo strips.
As evidenced by all of the above qualities, bamboo rightfully deserves its nickname, "the miracle plant." The EBF in Indonesia and Holland and the IBF in Hawaii strive to promote the use of bamboo and educate others about the greatly misunderstood and underutilized benefits of using and preserving this plant. One of the main ways in which we hope to accomplish this is through our educational and agro forestry programs worldwide, our consultant services and by your continued participation and support.

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