Preservation of bamboo means: • sound management in storage, and in cutting time: cut the bamboo in the season when the starch content is low; • attention to details such as keeping the bamboo dry: • protect the bamboo from splashing rainwater (build the roof with an over-hang), • allow the bamboo to dry quickly and completely after the rain has stopped, avoid contact with soil (use stone foundations) etc. (see Chapter 5 of Building with Bamboo by Jules J. A. Janssen); • preservation in the more narrow sense.
Before dealing with preservation we should first discuss the natural durability. This is lower than for wood and in most cases it is too low for an economic lifetime. The lifetime of untreated bamboo is: • in contact with atmosphere and soil: 1-3 years; • under cover: 4-6 years; • undercover and in a not very humid climate: 10-15 years. Normally bamboo will be attacked by fungi (rot, only when moist) and insects (beetles and termites). To avoid the last, bamboo has to be treated. Unfortunately it is quite difficult to treat bamboo: the outside and inside are covered with a tight layer of cells, and the vessels through which any liquid can enter the bamboo cover only about 10 per cent of the crosssection of a culm.