Bamboo in a nutshell

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.

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. 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.

Bamboo and environment

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:>

  • Habitat for a variety of small animals, insects and microorganisms
  • Up to 35 % increased oxygen production compared to hardwood
  • Highly efficient against erosion and strong in stabilising slopes and riverbeds
  • Resistant to a large number of environmental influences
  • Ideal for swift reforestation and rehabilitation, even in contaminated soils (e.g. former open pit mines, wasteland, disaster areas)
bamboo irrigation

Species Bambusa balcooa

Bambusa balcooa is a tropical species native to northern India and Bangladesh. The species has already been successfully introduced to other countries, including the Philippines. It is a sympodial growing species, i.e. new culms always grow within a narrow radius of the main culm. A several year old bamboo of this species can develop well over 20 culms at the same time, each of which can reach a height of up to 15 metres and a diameter of 10-12 cm.

Within 4-5 years a culm is sufficiently woody and ready for harvest. The cavity inside the culms, which is characteristic of bamboo, is reduced in size in contrast to most other species. Only few species have this economically interesting growth profile.

For an energy project such as charcoal production, Bambusa balcooa also impresses with its extremely high energy content of over 4,700 kcal / kg (5.23 kWh) and an ash content of less than 2 percent (air-dried, after harvest). A detailed chemical analysis is available in our project document database.

harvesten B. balcooa