I found out more fascinating facts about bamboo today:

  • Bamboo produces 13 tonnes of wood an acre, as against seven for lob lolly pine, a major source of timber in the US.
  • Bamboo can store “four times the carbon dioxide of a stand of trees of similar size.
  • And it releases 35 percent more oxygen.

I can’t think of any plant that’s greener than this.

Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world, taking just 4-6 years to mature for use in bamboo flooring. After harvesting, the new shoots grow up from the underground clumps without any replanting needed.

Even so, the booming market for bamboo products has caused severe pressure on the supply. The forest that we harvest from is monitored by the local government to ensure that there is no over-harvesting. This restricts the supply even more.

You might think replanting new forests would be a cinch. Ironically, it turns out that bamboo is one of the hardest plants to grow from seeds, because they flower only every 60 to 120 years before dying.

The race is on to find the fastest and most cost-effective way to reproduce bamboo from tissue cultures. This would allow much faster replanting.

Hopefully that would help ease the supply crunch and lower the costs for manufacturers.