Bamboo (Bambusoideae) comprises about 116 genera from the family of sweet grasses (Poaceae). The approximately 1500 different species are naturally native to all continents - with the exception of Europe and Antarctica.
Bamboo is one of the fastest growing land plants on earth and has been valued for centuries for its versatility. Although bendable and flexible, bamboo is a surprisingly resilient material. When it comes to tensile strength and hardness, bamboo can even take on steel when processed correctly. Nevertheless, it is extremely light and can be easily processed further into countless end products.
The special economic and ecological value of this raw material results from the unique growth characteristics that distinguish bamboo from other forest plants. Bamboo culms grow comparatively quickly and regrow regularly. Bamboo allows for selective annual harvest, whereas only matured culms are being harvested, while the rest of the plant remains fully intact. Depending on the species, replanting is only necessary after many decades.
In addition, bamboo does not require intensive use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides. Properly managed soils with bamboo vegetation enjoy excellent health even after many years of cultivation. The reasons for this are, among others, an efficient nutrient management of the plant itself and effective prevention of erosion by roots and rhizomes. Small animals, insects and microbes, which appreciate the soil environment of bamboo, also provide positive symbiotic effects.
If economic and ecological aspects are combined, bamboo occupies a special role due to its rapid growth and continuous reproduction alone. Combined with ecologically responsible cultivation, meaning the avoidance of a "chemical club" and safeguarding the lasting well-being of humans, plants, animals, soil and groundwater, bamboo offers unique opportunities to combine economic efficiency and environmental concerns.
Bamboo also offers numerous other ecological benefits:
Bamboo offers a range of advantages compared to common tree species. This does not mean that bamboo should replace other tree species in the timber industry, but it can indeed be a valuable addition in many fields.