S. production value. Exports account for approximately half this amount (Binnquist, Lopez, and Shanley). Figure 2 portrays three views of bamboo. One: A bamboo forrest; Two: A bamboos shoot; Three: A bamboo grove walkway.
Figure 2: Three Views of Bamboo (adapted from Stickman).
As bamboo production levels have risen, the amounts of raw materials needed to facilitate the production have simultaneously increased. The bamboo industry in Anji predominantly harvests bamboo from plantations, as it primarily grows a fast growing and easily cultivated, bamboo species, locally known as "maozhu" or "moso bamboo" (phyllostachys heterocycla) (Binnquist, Lopez, and Shanley). .
Currently in Anji, the cultivation of moso bamboo encompasses 60% of the forest area, with the percentage rising as plantations expand. Along with the hefty production of bamboo, the intense cultivation bamboo industry uses mammoth amounts of fertilizers and pesticides; which contributes to negative environmental effects. In reference to the bamboo production in Anji being eco-friendly:
The use of chemicals and mono-cultures, along with moso bamboo's tendency to rapidly and vigorously spread out, is stripping natural forest areas and local biodiversity. On the other hand, bamboo plantations can also have some positive ecological effects, for example when established on eroded or degraded lands, and they can contribute to soil and water conservation. Today, an increasing level of attention is being paid to addressing the environmental damage associated with bamboo plantations and also, to conserving biodiversity. (Binnquist, Lopez, and Shanley, p. 48).
The International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), an international organization established by treaty in November 1997, purports that it aims to improve the economic, social, and environmental benefits of bamboo and rattan. According to the article, "Environmental Sustainability," published on the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan website, bamboo can provide numerous services in local ecosystems and to the global environment. Significant ecological services bamboo provides include "rehabilitation of degraded land and slowing soil erosion" (Environmental Sustainability, ¶ 1). The following reflects goals INBAR includes in its Environmental Sustainability Programme:
1. Demonstrating and documenting the benefits bamboo and rattan provide for environmental conservation, as well as how these "products" may contribute to implementing agreements such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). INBAR aims "to have at least three demonstration projects under way in the three regions by 2011 in which best practices for soil, water and biodiversity conservation, rehabilitation of degraded lands and carbon sequestration…"(Environmental Sustainability, ¶ 2). INBAR plans to document the efforts it demonstrates.
2. Identifying endangered bamboo and rattan species; developing management methods and conservation demonstration sites; promoting the combination of conservation principles and practices into field projects and stimulating action research on bamboo and rattan habitats of endangered animals (Environmental Sustainability).
3. Demonstrating the role of bamboo and rattan in plantations and sustainably managed forests in providing economically viable environmental services. Developing resource inventory methods and technical manuals. In combination with income generation for local people, particularly the poor, INBAR also develops criteria and indicators for sustainable resource management. To accomplish this, INBAR plans to provide relevant training and capacity building (Environmental Sustainability).
Commercialization of New Materials
In the Web article, Bamboo Engineered Housing, Ujjwal Raj Pokhrel reports that each year, Nepal produces 3.01 million culms of bamboo, with production from 62,891 hectors of land. Nepal has approximately "23 genera (24% of the world) and 81 species of bamboo (5.2% of the world) found in 73 of the 75 districts of Nepal" (Pokhrel, Background section, ¶ 1). From the total annual production of bamboo culms in Nepal:
[Approximately] 600,000 -- 700,000 culms of bamboo are traded over the commercial domestic market in a year. Out of the remaining 2.4 millions culms, 1.9 millions culms are consumed locally and rest (0.5 million culms) are traded to India. An estimated 102 metric tons of bamboo shoots are also produced and sold in Nepal annually, all of which are consumed locally. (Pokhrel, Background section, ¶ 1)
Pokhrel asserts that bamboo, one of the most environmental friendly construction materials, constitutes one of the fastest growing plants in the world, with a growth rate that varies from 30 cm to 100 cm per day. After 60-90 days following shoot sprouting, bamboo reaches its maximum size. It may be commercially harvested after growing three to six years. Bamboo readily multiplies and grows easily in soil, not typically suitable for a number of agricultural crops. Bamboo, Pokhrel stresses, possesses significant potential to immensely contribute to the human and natural ecosystem, as well as to environmental sustainability. Bamboo also contributes to economic benefits Nepal, as well as numerous other Eastern regions, experience.
Figure 3 shows the interior of a kitchen, 8 meters high, 10 meters wide and 15 meters long, constructed with bamboo. Pokhrel stresses that one may use bamboo to construct anything cement and concrete can in a beautiful, economical and ecological way.
Figure 3: Interior Ceiling of Kitchen (Pokhrel).
Nepal Housing Industry
In developing countries, approximately one billion rural dwellers and more than 600 million urban residents live in overcrowded housing, the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) estimates. The United Nations Population Division projects that the world population will potentially reach 8.9 billion by 2050, with noticeably higher growth rates anticipated in the developing countries. Current, along with future concerns, include not only the fact that a massive number of people live in inadequate housing conditions, but also the millions of individuals who are homeless people around the world (Pokhrel).
Habitat for Humanity International reports that the majority of Nepalese, who live in villages, depend on agriculture for survival. Challenges to survival that simultaneously threaten homes include floods, landslides and earthquakes. Pokhrel reports that poverty, fed by the lack of employment has forced one in 10 of the rural population to migrate to Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, and other municipalities. Research Manohar Rajbhandhar conducted confirmed the demand for houses each year in Nepal, 34,980 contributes to Nepal having the highest urbanization rate among the SAARC countries - 3.79%. Migration in Nepal has contributed to the shortage of adequate housing in towns and cities.
One Nepal government study recently found that the need exists for more than 200,000 additional houses in Kathmandu Valley only. Due to current demand/need, housing constitutes a booming industry in Nepal. As Nepal depends heavily on importing construction materials such as cement, iron/steels etc. from India, however, costs for these construction materials, as well as for timber have dramatically increased (Pokhrel).
Bamboo for Use in Housing
Bamboo possesses enormous potential to solve the scarcity of sustainable building materials for high-end and affordable buildings in response to demands for affordable housing in Nepal and other parts of the world. Contemporary building materials, primarily wood, concrete and steel do not reportedly sustainable materials as they link to high-embodied energy. In addition, bamboo, which matures in three years, are not utilized within 10 years, lose their utility. Consequently, bamboo possesses the potential to replace some of the more expensive construction materials. In addition to bamboo being used to build affordable, culturally sensitive and earthquake resistant small family homes, a number of companies in Europe, South-America and Asia have demonstrated that bamboo may be utilized to construct bridges, airports, and even luxury condominiums (Pokhrel).
In the article, "Bamboo in Hawaii," Carol Bain purports a positive factor for using bamboo in construction is that bamboo's tensile strength equals 28,000 per square inch versus 23,000 for steel. Even though covered bamboo may only last 10-15 years, a negative factor for construction, the application of a thin coating of mortar keeps insects away and moisture out of bamboo. The use of chemicals to preserve and protect bamboo generally proves more effective than the non-chemical methods, although this proves more expensive and more complicated to apply. "Traditional, non-toxic treatment methods include water leaching, ponding, boiling, smoking and clump-curing. Costa Rica and Bali successfully use a sap-displacement method called Boucherie, where a boron-type preservative is pressured into the culms" (Bain, ¶ 28).
In Nepal, approximately 70-80% of bamboo sales, traded from the depots, most located in the cities of Nepal, are utilized in construction as scaffolding. The majority of the handicraft and other enterprises buy bamboo products directly from the traders. Each year, on average with costs ranging about NRs. 30 -- 35 million (U.S. $42,000 -- 49,000), Pokhrel (2009) reports, approximately 0.3 -- 0.35 million culms of bamboo may be utilized in construction.
Bamboo mixed with wood and other materials like adobe, stone has been use in constructing many houses in Nepal to build houses as high as four stories. Some informal sources estimate that around 35% of the houses constructed in eastern part of Nepal especially in Siraha, Suptari, Sunsari, Morang and Jhapa Districts some twenty to thirty years before were made out the bamboo, wood and mud…. According to a Nepali bamboo research institute Abari, with a little bit of enhancements almost all the components of a house (like walls, floors, roof,…