Bamboo facts: what makes bamboo a strategic resource for green economy development?


Bamboo is a vast untapped development resource that provides climate-smart mitigation and adaptation solutions. Below we quantify the plant’s potential for green economy development.

1.21 metres: the maximum daily growth of a bamboo pole

The plant’s rapid establishment and growth allow frequent harvesting, which limits exposure to disaster, and allows farmers to flexibly adapt their management and harvesting practices to new growing conditions as they emerge under climate change.

3-6 years: the time it takes for bamboo to be harvestable

Communities can start earning an income from bamboo in only 3-6 years. In comparison, many tree species take much longer to become established. Bamboo has the added advantage of being extremely cost-effective since it does not require inputs such as fertiliser and is easy to maintain.

>10,000: number of documented uses of bamboo

Bamboo is a highly versatile and rapidly renewable resource that offers a broad range of livelihood applications. Its economic role is likely to expand at an accelerating pace as other forest resources become strained under climate change, as the imperative to mitigate climate change enforces less dependence on fossil fuels and fragile forest resources, and as research discovers new applications for this valuable plant.

USD60 billion: the annual market value of bamboo and rattan worldwide

The global bamboo industry has developed rapidly in recent decades. The main bamboo commodities traded on international markets are industrial products, edible shoots and raw materials. This growth offers a huge opportunity for rural communities in bamboo-producing countries.

3.23 million tonnes: the amount of dry bamboo produced in India every year

In India, some 8.6 million people depend for their livelihoods on bamboo and the industries it supplies. Indian bamboo is currently estimated to create value equal to USD4.4 billion – approximately 130 times the USD34 million recorded in 2003.

7.5 million: the number of people employed in China’s bamboo sector

In China, the world’s largest bamboo producer, production was valued at USD19.5 billion in 2012 – an increase of nearly 50 per cent from the 13.1 billion recorded in 2010. The country remains a model for others hoping to develop their own bamboo sectors.