7 forest wonders: 5 Bamboo


© Paul Vlaar GFDL CC

You wouldn’t think it, but it’s a kind of grass. Bamboo is also one of the most rapidly growing plants on the planet, with some species growing an extraordinary 1.2 metres a day. It fixes carbon 7 to 30 per cent faster than the fastest-growing trees and, as it is particularly durable, it sequesters the carbon for longer. Growing in vast and beautiful forests – covering 22 million hectares mainly in the tropics and subtropics – it performs ecosystem services such as cleaning and retaining water in the ground and protecting soil from erosion. Used for building, flooring, furniture, paper, dishes and other kitchen implements, sleeping mats, charcoal, textiles, musical instruments, food, and even bicycle frames, bamboo is easy to cultivate in different climates and conditions, on marginal land and without the need for fertilizers.

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