Dhruvika writes on sustainable practices in various sectors for BuzzOnEarth. Get in touch with her at dhruvika@buzzonearth.com. Sometimes she reads her emails too.

The bamboo plant can play an important role in fighting climate change. It is the fastest-growing grass plant and is capable of capturing carbon dioxide from the air at a fast pace and also rapidly rejuvenates degraded lands, restoring soil fertility.

In a study conducted by the Nature Conservancy and the International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation (INBAR), experts said natural resources can deliver over 35 percent of cost-effective carbon dioxide mitigation that is needed by 2030.

Bamboo can be used for making heavy-duty materials, such as pipes and scaffolding, as well as used in housing purposes, said experts, which included the UNFCCC director of policy and programme.

With most of India’s designated forest lands degraded, planting bamboo can be the first stage in long-term agroforestry and agricultural redevelopment, scientists say.

The speed with which a plant grows has a part in determining how much carbon dioxide it can absorb in a given time. According to a study, Bamboo potentially acts as a valuable sink for carbon storage, and on an average, one hectare of bamboo absorbs about 17 tonnes of carbon per year.

It takes only three years to establish mature groves of Bamboo. As a result, bamboos are effective carbon dioxide absorbers, not only above ground carbon (AGC), but also below-ground carbon (BGC) in roots, and rhizomes. To a lesser extent, it absorbs soil organic carbon (SOC) too. Importantly, growing out of a tangle of underground stems, bamboo can help reforest landscapes denuded by development or natural disasters, binding topsoil to prevent erosion.

Most researchers focus on the promise of large, leafy trees. The bigger the plant, the more carbon dioxide it absorbs. However, increasing evidence points to bamboo being a surprising grassy climate change warrior. Grown as a low-cost sustainable, household-level commercial plantation, it can be introduced, adopted and scaled-up to secure water catchments and protect erodible soils.

The bamboo plant is becoming a part of China’s new Emissions Trading Scheme, the largest in the world, as a way for polluting companies to offset emissions.

With the bamboo sector valued at over USD 30 billion, China is the leader in bamboo innovations in the world.

India is focusing on increasing bamboo cultivation in the country and promoting growing bamboo.

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