A bamboo forest.
Luis Marden

A bamboo forest.

Bamboo Production

Support SinksLand SinksUse Degraded Land
CO2 Equivalent
Reduced / Sequestered
Billion $US
Net First Cost
(To Implement Solution)
Trillion $US
Lifetime Net
Operational Savings
Trillion $US
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 resprouts 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

Bamboo is planted on 33.52 million hectares today. We assume that it will be grown on an additional 69.8–174.3 million hectares of degraded forest lands. Our carbon sequestration calculations include both living biomass and long-lived bamboo products, with an annual rate of 2.03 tons of carbon per hectare, resulting in atotal of 8.3-21.3 gigatons of carbon dioxide sequestered by 2050. An initial investment of US$52–162 billion and lifetime operational cost of US$56–1444 billion could yield a lifetime net profit of US$1707–4348 billion. When bamboo is substituted for aluminum, concrete, plastic, or steel, there can be significant avoided emissions; however, these additional benefits are not included.