Bamboo products have exploded in the market recently. Bamboo is being used in flooring, textiles and all sorts of household items. Its popularity is based on its reputation as a sustainable material. It's a hardy plant that can thrive without the use of pesticides and in many climates and it grows quickly, so what is cut down can be easily replaced. At least that's what has been assumed.
It turns out that bamboo's popularity has led to it being over-harvested and not only is it not being replaced quickly enough with new growth, but many species are on the verge of extinction. Even though it grows quickly, turns out it's very hard to propagate from seeds. That's where Booshoot Gardens, a biotechnology company, comes in. They have figured out a way to propagate bamboo species through tissue culture and are cultivating various species in mass amounts in their greenhouses in Washington state.
Booshoots supplies nurseries and agroforesters with bamboo to ensure that the grass continues to be available and thrive. The continuing existence of large quantities of bamboo is to the benefit of the environment. Bamboo absorbs more CO2 than trees and releases more oxygen, so it's important that bamboo not just be used as a material, but also stay in the ground.
Of course, even with Booshoots propagating bamboo in a sustainable way, there are still many questions left about what processes are used to make bamboo products and what is being cut down in order to make room for bamboo. As it continues to grow in popularity, standards will have to be put in place to truly make it sustainable, but at least there is a company out there like Booshoot that is doing their part to help the plant and the planet.
written by Fred, July 13, 2009
written by Bamboo clothes, October 15, 2013
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