December 12, 2017

EcoPlanet Bamboo describes the critical importance of selecting the right bamboo species for each targeted end product, dispelling a common myth.

September 12, 2017

Despite the tribe of bamboo - included within the Poaceae family - having upwards of 1,600 individual species, and being split between two extremely distinct growth patterns (monopodial and sympodial bamboo), this widely diverse group of woody perennial grasses ends up often being lumped together and talked about in highly generalist terms. While common literature and widely available information generally provides a separation between monopodial and sympodial bamboo species, this often translates into an over simplification into just two categorizations of opposing needs and behavior, that of temperate running bamboo versus tropical clumping bamboo. Similarly, when we talk about the development of bamboo farms or manufacturing across much of Latin America, Africa and Asia, all tropical clumping bamboo species often end up getting grouped together and treated as one. In contrast, the behavior, needs, and requirements of the >1,600 species of bamboo cover an extremely wide diversity, mu...

May 17, 2017

In this posting we address another common misconception when it comes to bamboo farming and the development of commercial bamboo plantations, and that is bamboo’s need for regular fertilization.

Under a context of regular harvesting, this statement is simply incorrect. In order to be an economically viable crop, under most scenarios bamboo does require fertilizer. Similarly, to grow bamboo as a deforestation free crop, on degraded land, the correct prescription and timing of fertilization is important to allow for the successful establishment of young bamboo and reduce mortality.

Over the past years EcoPlanet Bamboo has carried out many research trials on the ideal silvicultural treatments required in order to optimize the growth, time to maturity and subsequent yields from planted bamboo, while maintaining the sustainability of any venture. Such trials have been carried out using a range of bamboo species and across a wide range of geographies and climates. Some images of these trials a...

April 8, 2017

Bamboo does not get attacked by pests. A bamboo myth that gets thrown around casually and extremely carelessly in the attempt to promote bamboo - incorrectly - as a silver bullet or magic plant. And yet it only takes a quick google search to come across INBAR's wonderfully illustrated publication "Insect Pests of Bamboos in Asia - An Illustrated Manual", or a suite of other publications documenting in detail the many many pests that like to feed on bamboo. 

Covering vast latitudes with rich bamboo reserves, China has a great variety of bamboo pest insects. Those formally described and with published scientific names include more than 400 species belonging to 230 genera, 50 families, and 9 orders. 

Hang on. 400 pests? And these documents generally focus only on insect pests rather than the many herbivores that also have the potential to cause significant damage. So why does the internet tell us that if we want to become bamboo farmers or own a bamboo plantation we don't nee...

April 1, 2017

Bamboo Matures in 3 Years. An extremely misleading statement we come across again and again, and yet, when you talk to anyone with experience in actually growing bamboo, they'll be far more likely to confirm that under the best of conditions the timeframe to maturity of a new bamboo farm or bamboo plantation is 5-7 years for tropical clumping (sympodial) species, while our friends in the United States who have years of experience will indicate a 10+ year timeframe for Moso bamboo - Phyllostachys edulis - to reach maturity and experience the emergence of larger diameter culms.

So where does this bamboo myth originate from?

The answer is from the large Moso growing area of China. China was once a land of immense tropical and temperate hardwood forests that underwent extreme deforestation in the 1400's as a result of Emperor Zhu Di's grandiose development of the Forbidden City, the move of the Chinese capital from Nanjing to Beijing and the construction of a massive fleet of...

March 1, 2017

Over the past decade we have studied a wide range of species of bamboo diligently. Our knowledge and understanding of how to grow bamboo for commercial purposes and at scale comes from a variety of sources including but not limited to:

  • Our own experience as a company working to develop bamboo plantations in Nicaragua, South Africa and Ghana, using species that have never been grown at scale. During our early days of developing commercial bamboo nurseries and then taking these seedlings through transplanting into a field setting, we relied on widely available information and many self proclaimed bamboo experts. However we soon came to learn that few people had attempted to grow bamboo at scale and even fewer of those who had tried had been successful. We therefore quickly realized that in order to succeed we were going to have to develop our own knowledge, science base and silvicultural management techniques for bamboo, through research plots, trial and error...

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