Tag Archives: bamboo forest

Creating a walk-through bamboo forest

Bamboo forest

Photo credit: Roger Walch

A bamboo forest is a restful place.

I have created my own walk-through bamboo forest. While not on the awesome scale of the giant forests of moso bamboo one might find in Japan, say, or Taiwan, it is not without delight.

The bamboo here was planted over 30 years ago. The grove I have been working in has not had any maintenance lavished upon it except for a yearly slashing of the new shoots that stray too far from the grove. A few weeks ago, this grove was a mass of dead and live bamboo too dense to squeeze through.

bamboo forest, bamboo maintenance

Bottom end of grove before. The yellow bamboo you can see is a stand of painted bamboo completely surrounded by the smaller, green running bamboo.

bamboo forest, bamboo maintenance

Bottom end of grove after.

Today, it is a 33 metre long by 10 metre wide grove of bamboo that is a pleasure to walk through. Admittedly, it is a bit tight in places, but easy for someone of a healthy weight. The earth underfoot is gently cushioned by 30 years of bamboo leaf detritus. The gently swaying canopy overhead provides welcome shade for the visitor and safe haven for small birds.

Creating the walk-through forest was not hard work, just time-consuming. Each stem of dead bamboo was removed from inside the grove. Bamboo that was not growing vertically was cut out if it impeded my exit route. Sometimes only one culm at a time could be dragged out. I plugged away at it for an hour or so a day over several weeks.

bamboo forest, bamboo maintenanceThe numerous loads of dead and surplus culms were taken to an allocated spot in the paddock using the trusty old Brumby. The 4 horses that live in the paddock are always really interested in the contents of the Brumby. They often impede any unloading, looking for fresh bamboo leaves to snack on.

Do you have any experience with culling your own bamboo forest?



Bamboo to the rescue

The results of an EU-funded project to treat waste water with bamboo are now being marketed. The project established the market viability of intensified bamboo-based phytoremediation for dairy and other food industry grey water applications. In other words, a bamboo forest can treat industrial discharge on a large scale.

bamboo, phytoremediation, industrial waste, wastewaterThe French company Phytorem is selling the managed process as the Bambou Assainissement (bamboo sanitation) filter. The process can be scaled for both domestic and industrial waste water, and is suitable for hotels, camp sites, retirement homes, housing estates, isolated infrastructures, wildlife parks, landfills, storm water and more.

Multi-purpose bamboo forest

Phytoremediation is essentially vegetation filtration. In this case the vegetation is a bamboo forest. Bamboo is well-suited because it has a very dense root system, is fast-growing, and suited to a wide range of climatic conditions. In addition, the bamboo can be harvested for fuel, construction, furniture, textiles or paper, just to name a few uses. The Phytorem web site also suggests food, but I’m not sure I’d be keen to eat bamboo shoots grown in industrial waste.

Of course, the use of phytoremediation has limitations. An EPA paper outlines some of the limitations and disadvantages for the broad process of phytoremediation. They include: depth limitations of the plant roots; the process is slower than other treatment methods and dependent on growth rates; leaching of contaminants into the groundwater and environment; and, accumulation of contaminants that may pass into the food chain. The many unique properties of bamboo, however, overcome some of the disadvantages of other types of vegetation used for phytoremediation. It gives me hope.

Do you have any experience with bamboo as a grey water treatment?