Published

2016-11-08

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Bamboo

by Craig Bielema

Excerpt: Bamboo’s reputation is largely based upon intrinsic peculiarities of certain varieties. The plant can grow a meter a day and is the staple diet for giant pandas; though a grass, it can grow to 30 meters tall with hollow wooden stems which are stronger than steel; and bamboo has a reproductive cycle in which all plants of the same species flower and then die simultaneously…worldwide. These sound like qualities conjured up for a fantasy novel. 

Though the aforementioned qualities are true for some varieties, bamboo exists with a wide array of sizes, shapes, and palatability, and with varied growth and reproductive patterns. With diverse characteristics comes diverse functionality; bamboo is commonly used as food, fodder, fiber, fencing, furniture, and construction timber, all without sacrificing the life of the plant! Bamboo has many impressive and amazing characteristics, but its most important quality is the impact that its use can have on the life of a smallholder family.

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