Research Highlight

Bamboo plants can act as efficient carbon sinks

doi:10.1038/nindia.2021.46 Published online 30 March 2021

Researchers have shown that two species of bamboo plants, endemic to Mizoram, can store and sequester carbon such as carbon dioxide efficiently1.

The above-ground biomass in the stands of two bamboo species – Bambusa tulda (BT) and Dendrocalamus longispathus (DL) – have high potential for storing atmospheric carbon, the researchers, from the Mizoram University in Aizawl, India, found. 

Bamboo carbon can be further sequestered and converted into durable products such as that used in buildings, floor panels, furniture, mats and baskets. Hence, bamboo plantation will help eliminate poverty and mitigate environmental degradation acting as sinks for carbon, the researchers say.  

On an average, one hectare of bamboo stands absorbs about 17 tonnes of carbon per year. However, the biomass production and the carbon-storing potential of the Indian bamboos are largely unexplored.

To find out, the scientists analysed and measured the percentage of carbon content in the culm (stem), sheath, branch and leaf. They also separately estimated the biomass of each of these components.

In BT, the carbon content was found to be the highest in the branch followed by the culm and leave components, whereas in DL the highest percentage of carbon was found in the culm followed by the branch and leave components.

The average contribution of the different components in the total above-ground biomass of BT was 84 per cent by culm, 8.1 per cent by the branch and 7.1 per cent by leaves. In DL, it was 86 per cent by the culm, 8.7 per cent by the branch and 5 per cent by the leaves.

Bamboo plants, the researchers say, also have potential to convert barren lands into a fertile forest. 

 


References

1. Devi, A. S. et al. Carbon storage and sequestration potential in above-ground biomass of bamboos in North East India. Sci. Rep. 11:837 (2021)