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Luis Marden

A bamboo forest.

Bamboo Production

Support SinksLand SinksUse Degraded Land
8.27–21.31
Gigatons
CO2 Equivalent
Reduced / Sequestered
(2020–2050)
$52.25–161.94
Billion $US
Net First Cost
(To Implement Solution)
$-1.44–-0.57
Trillion $US
Lifetime Net
Operational Savings
$1.71–4.35
Trillion $US
Lifetime
Net Profit
Bamboo rapidly sequesters carbon in biomass and soil and can thrive on degraded lands. Long-lived bamboo products can also store carbon over time.

Solution Summary*

In the Philippine creation story, the first man Malakas (Strong One) and the first woman Maganda (Beautiful One) emerged from the two halves of a bamboo tree. It is one of many Asian origin myths that features bamboo—a plant that human beings have cultivated for more than a thousand uses, from buildings to food to paper.

Addressing global warming is another way it can be brought into service. Bamboo rapidly sequesters carbon in biomass and soil, taking it out of the air faster than almost any other plant, and can thrive on inhospitable degraded lands—the ideal place to put bamboo to work.

Just a grass, bamboo has the compressive strength of concrete and the tensile strength of steel. It reaches its full height in one growing season, at which time it can be harvested for pulp or allowed to grow to maturity over four to eight years. After being cut, bamboo re-sprouts and grows again.

Because bamboo is an invasive species in many places, which can spread with detrimental effects to native ecosystems, care should be taken to select appropriate locations and manage its growth.

* excerpted from the book, Drawdown
Impact:

Bamboo is planted on 33.52million hectares today. We assume that it will be grown on an additional 69.8-174.3million hectares of degraded forest lands. Our carbon sequestration calculations include both living biomass and long-lived bamboo products, with an annual rate of 2.03tons of carbon per hectare, resulting in atotal of 8.3-21.3gigatons of carbon dioxide sequestered by 2050. An initial investment of $52-162billion and lifetime operational cost of $566-1444billioncould yield a lifetime net profit of $1707-4348billion.When bamboo is substituted for aluminum, concrete, plastic, or steel, there can be significant avoided emissions; however, these additional benefits are not included.