Bamboo: an untapped resource?

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As discussed in many, many posts here and elsewhere on our site, bamboo is a robust material as flooring, and in many other contexts.  And I think too that we’ve outlined just how robust a material it is in nature as well, growing almost anywhere, and growing quickly.  It’s this last aspect which makes it something of a miracle plant in terms of green building materials.  But, what it also represents for many countries is a potential goldmine for economic growth.

Bamboo harvesting (courtesy of Augapfel) in China means harvesting the whole plant, including the leaves.

Bamboo harvesting in China means harvesting the whole plant, including the leaves. Image courtesy of Augapfel - click the image to see his photostream.

I recently read this article about the economic impact of bamboo which talks about bamboo as a means of creating jobs and stimulating economies in Third World regions, much like sugar cane has been.  Because bamboo can be applied to so many industries – paper, construction, and even in the automobile industry –  it represents something of a versatile means of entering several markets at once.

The article outlines that a lot of the potential for economic traction is dampened somewhat by the lack of manufacturing facilities equipped with the latest technology.  At present, the return on investment is not immediate enough for many. And  ironically, I’m guessing is that part of this might be because of the erroneous perception that bamboo is  a material for low-tech solutions, representative of an underdeveloped way of life.

Yet, in these grim economic times, wouldn’t it be even more ironic that many economies could be emboldened and enlivened by such a plentiful and basic material which makes up hectares and hectares of forests in their own backyards, or in the backyards of new trading partners?

It seems to me that in times such as this, branching out into new, or underdeveloped markets is the way to go.  And if that saves the environment while it’s saving the world economy, so much the better.



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Rob Jones

Rob served as Editor-In-Chief of BuildDirect Blog: Life At Home from 2007-2016. He is a writer, Dad, content strategist, and music fan.