door Hans Friederich        

Een van onze leden mailde ons een fantastisch artikel over bamboe. Wat is er zo spannend aan bamboe?


In 1973 studeerde ik Fysische Geografie in de Dapperstraat. Na mijn kandidaatsexamen in 1977 vertrok ik naar Bristol in Engeland waar ik verder studeerde met uiteindelijk in 1982 een PhD in Geography met als onderzoeksthema karst-hydrologie en hydro-chemie.

Na een succesvolle carrière in Botswana, Kenya, Vietnam, Thailand en Zwitserland, ben ik nu de Algemene Directeur van INBAR - het internationale bamboe en rotan consortium (The International Network for Bamboo and Rattan – www.inbar.int). INBAR is een intergouvernementele organisatie met momenteel 40 landen. Het hoofdkwartier is gevestigd in Beijing, en we hebben kantoren in India, Ethiopia, Ghana en Ecuador. We houden ons bezig met rotan maar vooral met bamboe. Ik zal uitleggen waarom bamboe zo interessant is, maar omdat wij in het Engels opereren, schrijf ik verder in het Engels.

Most bamboos are giant grass species, which occur throughout the tropical and subtropical belts. While bamboo is often associated with the Asia-Pacific Region, there are large areas of native bamboo in Africa and Latin America. There are more than 1400 species of bamboo world-wide, and they range from relatively small plants to giant culms. Bamboo requires rainfall of at least 500mm per year, but thrives in wetter conditions. Different species are adapted to their local conditions, based mainly on rainfall, temperature, and soil conditions.

Bamboo grows very fast. In spring or the rainy season, new shoots appear above ground, and reach full height and diameter within several months. The growth rate can be more than 1 metre per day. Once the bamboo stems (culms) have reached full height after a period of a few months, they will not become bigger, but require another 3 to 5 years to mature before they can be cut for use. As bamboos are grasses, the culms can be cut year after year, and new shoots will re-appear to replenish the stock of culms. There is no need for re-planting.

The rapid growth and the strong root systems make bamboo particularly suited for soil protection and landscape restoration. It is reported that a single bamboo plant can bind up to 6m3 of soil, and research in China showed that soil erosion in a bamboo plantation is 4.7 times lower than in adjacent sweet potato cropland. Bamboo also absorbs CO2 like any other plant. But as bamboo can be harvested without harming the ecosystem, and culms are mature after about five years, a bamboo forest is a more effective carbon sink than an equivalent forest of trees. Furthermore, natural bamboo forests are the home for the Giant Panda in China, the mountain gorilla, and the Mbale Monkey in Eastern Africa and the Golden Lemur in Madagascar, to name a few of the most charismatic bamboo-dependent species.

While the ecosystem services of the living plant are remarkable, there is also a wide range of applications of bamboo once it has been harvested. Poor households can use bamboo to produce charcoal, and bamboo charcoal is cleaner than most wood charcoal. INBAR has tested this in Ethiopia and Ghana and we are now embarking on a larger, Africa-wide programme to upscale our experiences. Bamboo is also considered as an industrial energy source, either through gasification or by using pellets, or even by distilling bioethanol and biodiesel. Recent developments in Indonesia and Spain are encouraging.

Bamboo fibres can also be used for production of pulp and paper or textiles, and they can be engineered to make modern interior design and building materials. You may be interested to know that one of the largest importers of bamboo flooring is located in De Zwaag near Hoorn.

In all of this we must not forget that harvesting the raw product is very labour intensive and bamboo provides jobs for many poor communities in the Global South. A growing market for bamboo materials in Europe therefore leads directly to more jobs and more income for poor people in Asia, Africa and Latin America. And because bamboo can be cut by anyone, and is not considered to be a high-value crop compared to timber or food, bamboo is often harvested by the poorest of the poorest.

Kortom, bamboe is een beetje een wonderplant. Het Secretariaat heeft als voornaamste taak de mogelijkheden van bamboe meer en meer bekend te maken, de leden te steunen en vertegenwoordigen, het bamboenetwerk uit te breiden, en meer contacten te leggen in OECD landen. Ik vind dat ik een fantastische baan heb!


Hier volgt een aanvulling:

Wat Hans Friederich doet over de hele wereld dat doet een ander UvA alumnus, Ruud Goedknegt, dit heel intensief in Ghana. Zijn stichting Barbarugo zorgt dat door de bamboe het klimaat verbetert en dat vele werklozen hierdoor in hun levensonderhoud kunnen voorzien. Mochten er bij Lulofs toekomstige ondernemers zijn die bamboe, het materiaal van de toekomst, willen verwerken, laten zij contact met ons opnemen.
Zie ook www.facebook.com/barbarugo.

  Last edit: 2015-02-23 21:26:31.