7 Ways Bamboo Can Slow Down Deforestation

by Simeon Nikolov on July 20, 2021

Deforestation is a global environmental issue that has reached critical levels. When trees are permanently removed to make room for agriculture, grazing, logging, housing, road works, or commercial use, forest areas shrink. This creates a whole gamut of problems that have devastating effects on the environment, wildlife, and economy.

Efforts have been made to stop deforestation or at least slow it down. Various sectors around the world are doing their share in saving the forests. Tree planting projects, deforestation awareness, campaigns, forest stewardship programs, promoting sustainable choices, and recycling are just some of the programs that are helping stop deforestation on its tracks.

As more studies and research are conducted, potential solutions emerge and one of them is bamboo planting. But before we delve into how bamboo can help in forest restoration, we must first understand how forests are being depleted.

What are the causes of deforestation and forest degradation?

Deforestation and severe forest degradation are happening all over the world. In fact, the world has lost about one-third of its forest, which is equivalent to an area twice the size of the US. What’s particularly shocking is that the devastation occurred mostly in the last century. This says so much about the ill-effects of modernization and progress to natural resources.

Here are the leading causes of deforestation and forest degradation.


  1. Conversion of forests for other land uses

Many forests are converted into plantations, pastures, human settlements, roads, and other infrastructure. Once conversions are done, we lose massive forest areas and the plant life and wildlife that depend on forest for food and shelter.


  1. Illegal logging

Because of the high demand for timber and derivative products like paper and packaging, some unscrupulous businesses are illegally extracting timber from forests. They are not only violating laws and destroying the forests, but they are also taking away the livelihood of people from the local communities who depend on the forest.


  1. Mining

Legal or not, mining has a devastating impact on tropical forests. Demand for minerals is on the rise, which means large-scale mining operations are contributing to deforestation through forest clearing. And since these operations are often accompanied by constructions of roads, power stations, railway lines, and other infrastructure, they cause a huge disturbance to the forest ecosystem.


  1. Fuelwood harvesting

In many parts of the world, charcoal production is still thriving. The increasing demand for charcoal and wood for domestic cooking is a major threat to forests. As more people use charcoal, suppliers are overharvesting fuelwood, resulting in degradation of forest, eventually leading to deforestation.


  1. Forest fires

Not all causes of deforestation is man-made. Natural forest fires can happen when lightning strikes. In rare cases, they can be caused by spontaneous combustion of leaves and sawdust. Man-made fires are the leading cause of forest fires. Smoking, cooking, and other human activities can start a forest fire.


  1. Climate change

Because of climate change, tropical storms, droughts, and heat waves are happening more frequently and increasing in severity. These result in loss of trees and destruction of forests. With fewer trees, more carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere.


How can bamboo slow down and prevent deforestation?

Reversing deforestation is a massive challenge for governments and environmentalists. With deforestation happening at breakneck speed, it becomes difficult to restore forests to their original glory. Planting trees, going paperless, and recycling are just some of the ways to slow down deforestation. However, there’s a little-known activity that can help prevent deforestation and that is bamboo planting.

Bamboo is associated with the green movement by being a great alternative to plastic and wood products. There’s plenty of reasons to love bamboo. Here are some of them:


  • Bamboo is eco-friendly as it doesn’t require pesticides or fertilizers. It has a natural antibacterial property that fights bacteria and repels pests.
  • Bamboo is a fast-growing grass. It takes about three to five years for bamboo to mature and be ready for harvest.
  • Bamboo self-generates from its own roots and thus, there’s no need to replant. It also does not need a lot of water to grow.
  • Bamboo is highly durable while still being flexible and elastic.
  • Bamboo sinks carbon dioxide. It helps in reducing carbon from the atmosphere.
  • Bamboo is cheap because production costs are substantially lower because it undergoes minimal alteration and processing.
  • Bamboo helps slow down deforestation.


Among all these benefits, the bamboo’s role in preventing deforestation is not widely discussed or explored. The potential to protect the forests is tangible and yet it remains unfulfilled. A deeper look into the attributes and benefits of bamboo reveals its role in protecting the forests and stopping deforestation.


  1. Bamboo can be used as an alternative to timber. It can be used to produce durable goods such as flooring, furniture, and construction materials. This means that major timber industries can shift to bamboo production partly or entirely, thereby reducing the need to harvest wood from the forests.
  1. Bamboo’s root system bind soil and prevent water runoff. Dry and degraded soil in the forest can be restored simply by planting bamboo.
  1. Bamboo can grow in tropical and subtropical forests which helps in the conservation of forest ecosystems.
  1. Bamboo can replace charcoal as a fuel source for domestic cooking. By using sustainable bamboo charcoal instead of wood charcoal, wood harvesting will significantly decrease.
  1. By planting bamboo on degraded and deforested land, critical ecosystem can be restored. Commercial bamboo plantation can help spur the forest restoration process.
  1. Degraded lands can be restored to productive use through mosaic restoration wherein trees and bamboo are combined with other land uses such as agriculture and settlements.
  1. Since bamboo can grow even on degraded and marginal soils, bamboo forests can rehabilitate and conserve soil and restore the forest land.


With all these incredible abilities and attributes, bamboo should be part of global forest restoration and rehabilitation programs not just to slow down deforestation but also to reverse its devastating effects.