Reforesting with Bamboo


Bamboo is a “perfect plant” in so many ways. I’m not just talking about for tree-free flooring and hip clothing fiber – bamboo is a very fast way to clear carbon from the air. Growing to maturity in just a few years, a stand of bamboo actually absorbs more carbon dioxide and releases more oxygen than an equivalent stand of trees.

Now how to plant enough to make a difference? Jackie Heinricher of Washington state had a huge surprise one day when she found her Chilean feather bamboo had flowered – a once-in-a-lifetime event. Usually bamboo is propagated through cuttings, but with 10,000 seeds on her hands, Heinricher was able to sprout them all and start a business selling bamboo in quantities fit for forests.

Boo-Shoot Gardens has actually figured out how to clone bamboo in a test tube and produces 2 million plants a year, which is enough for some major reforestation. After all, bamboo is an in-demand resource these days for American products, and why ship it from overseas (which uses way too much fossil fuel) when we can grow it ourselves at home?

This is a solution that’s sustainable to the core.

Image: Joi