Terra Bamboo aims to be the bamboo plantation, management, and distribution provider of choice across the southeastern United States. We have an ongoing commitment to innovation and technology driven standards. …read more
Benefits of Using Bamboo over Trees
Growth Rate & Harvest:
Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world. Growing to an average maximum height of 80 feet with a majority of this growth occurring in the first year. During this first season, the culm of young shoots grow vertically, with the pulpy wall of each culm or stem slowly dries and hardens, the culm begins to sprout branches and leaves from each node. Harvesting can occur annually from the fourth year, removing around 20% of the bamboo without damaging the environment or the productivity of the plant. This is far more efficient then trees that can take up to a decade before the first harvest.
Eucalyptus globulus is one of the fastest growing trees used in Chinese paper plantations. It can grow up to 45 feet in 3 years. In the eighth year the tree can reach up to 90 feet. At 30 years of age the Eucalyptus is considered mature and will be up to 160 feet tall. Harvesting of Eucalyptus pulpwood can begin at between 10 to 12 years then every 5-7 years after that, called thinning which consists of cutting down the smaller trees. The plantation is clear felled at the 30 year mark when the trees have reached their maximum height.
Along with a fast growing rate, Bamboo also have a high rate of carbon sequestration. Moso Bamboo takes in up to 56 tonnes of carbon per hectare annually. This is almost 5 times as much as Eucalyptus which will sequester around 10 tonnes of CO²/ha per year, though when chopped down it will only retain about 30% of that carbon. Bamboo on the other hand will store up to 90% of the carbon it has sequester and may be retained for decades depending on the life span of the product it is used for. Bamboo will also generate up to 35% more oxygen then trees during the process of photosynthesis.
Fertilizers & Pesticides:
Bamboo grows naturally without the need for fertilizers and pesticides. Eucalyptus plantations can be greatly affected by weeds and insects, with aerial spraying common on most plantations. One of the pesticides Alpha-Cypermethrin is used to kill pests on Eucalyptus plantations, the chemical can be toxic to freshwater fish.
More on bamboo…
Bamboo is not a get-rich-quick concept. It takes over half a decade to develop tangible grove enough to enter the market. The logic of growing bamboo plantation-style stands up well against the other commonly subsidized long-term crop in the Southern US: pine trees. With all its advantages, bamboo is at a disadvantage in terms of the lack of subsidies and lobbyists which prop up “conventional” crops such as cotton and pine trees. Tests at Auburn University comparing bamboo production to pine production began in the 1930s and continued through the 1960s. Although the research was unfortunately discontinued for reasons not entirely clear, results showed that bamboo greatly out-produced loblolly pine in terms of dry wood tonnage per acre. A summary of this study can be found at www.ag.auburn.edu/hort/landscape/bamboo.html#intro. Compared to pine plantations, a well-managed stand of bamboo can be harvested yearly after the initial establishment period, which will vary according to species, site factors, and end-use, but in any case should be sooner than the typical 10-15 years before the first thinning of planted pines. Although pines may be managed for a perpetually sustainable harvest, they are typically thinned every several years until a final clear-cut and replanting at around 30 years of age. With bamboo, there is no need to replant after 30 years and the harvest is YEARLY instead of every 5 years. While we recognize the value of pine trees to our native ecosystems, there is nothing sustainable about broad-scale clearcuts.