Bamboo: a natural resource for mankind - an overview

Abhilash Joseph E

Bamboo: -a perennial woody grass occurs under widely varying ecological environments in the tropics and subtropics or in more temperate regions. It is a versatile, fast growing and renewable resource with over thousand non-timber and timber uses, which grow rapidly and produce very high biomass. The more than 1,250 species vary widely in structure. It is becoming more and more a farm crop in addition to being a major forest product. Bamboo has been used for a variety of purposes including environmental restoration and in the production of handicrafts, artefacts, furniture, construction of buildings, pulp and paper manufacture, cottage industries and household usage. Bamboo-ply, laminated boards, flooring, roofing sheets, props and many others have been key wood substitutes of bamboo in the construction industry world-wide. Other vital products such as medicines, food, charcoal, vinegar, beverages, natural pesticides, and toiletries, among many others have been produced from bamboo. Indeed bamboo resources if properly utilised and can provide alternative viable livelihood enterprises for large, medium and small scale entrepreneurs including the rural poor.

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