Growth Rate & Harvest
Bamboo is one of the fastest growing trees. During the first year bamboo trees grow up to 80 feet. Harvesting bamboo can begin during the fourth year and then continue annually, removing 20% of the tree without affecting the environment or the continued growth of the bamboo. This results in bamboo trees being much more efficient than other trees which take up to a decade to harvest.
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 than trees during the process of photosynthesis.
Fertilizers & Pesticides
Unlike other trees that can be devastated by insects and weeds.
Bamboo does not require pesticides or fertilizer – some of which used on non-bamboo trees, like Alpha-Cypermethrin, is known to be toxic to fish. Because Bamboo when grown correctly does not harm the environment, it is much preferable to many other tree options.
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, such as 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 show that bamboo greatly out-produces loblolly pine in terms of dry wood tonnage per acre.
A summary of this study can be found at Auburn University – Bamboo. Compared to pine, bamboo can be harvested annually after a decade. This is ten to fifteen years sooner than pine. As well, unlike pine, bamboo does not require replanting after thirty years. One of the primary benefits of the efficiency of bamboo over pine is that bamboo can be harvested annually as opposed to pine which can only be harvested every five years.