Soil and land are a basic natural resource that provide billions of individuals around the globe with food and livelihoods. They also have a main role to play in addressing economic inequality, preserving biodiversity and fighting global climate change. Whether forests, grasslands, savannahs or deserts, land ecosystems and restoring land are essential to constructing a more viable future for our planet.
Despite this fact, land degradation has become one of the 21stcentury’s greatest problems. More than 2 billion hectares– an area larger than the South American continent – stands to be restored. It’s clear that there is an urgent need to tackle land degradation. In fact, it has been argued that restoration could be our best solution to climate change.In its proposed sustainable development goals (SDGs),the UN acknowledges the importance of this issue. Expert panels are currently discussing different methods to restore this mass degradation.
So why is bamboo a part of this?
Bamboo has been identified as a high priority species to restore degraded land. Specialists in the field have released reports that prove this. It’s a strategic resource that can be used by many nations to restore their degraded landscapes and reverse desertification hazards. Bamboo can regenerate even the most degraded soils within a brief period of time with its lengthy root systems, the capacity to grow on degraded soils and steep slopes, and highly quick development. When technically managed, bamboo plantations can increase biodiversity, restore soil function and raise the water tables in some of the most degraded parts of the planet. In only 2 years, new plantations can revert soil erosion by up to 70%!
By decreasing the pressure on current forest resources, bamboo can also stop deforestation. The plant has some 10,000 distinct uses, strong, flexible and versatile, offering an opportunity for the participation of rural communities in an increasing worldwide industry. This means bamboo farms are not only crucial to restoring land but can benefit local communities, aligning financial performance with social development and environmental protection.
Vast forest regions have been cleared over the past several decades as agriculture has spread and people have grown. As approximately 30% of the worldwide forest cover has been removed and another 20% degraded, it would bring many advantages to break this cycle and restore these lands.