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Bamboo resources, uses and trade: the future?

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Bamboo products are well established in internal markets and on the world trade market. Accurate statistical information on this trade is difficult to find. International trade statistics suffer from outdated customs codes. However, the volume of world trade exceeds $2.5 billion and may reach $7 billion. Trade is generated from a narrow range of utilised species (perhaps 50 out of 1500 total bamboo species). Many under-utilised species are threatened by loss of forest habitat. The domesticated species could be more widely planted since bamboos are relatively tolerant of cold and of poor soils. Bamboo could be more widely used in construction: for example, bamboo can be used to reinforce cement, or to construct inexpensive houses and buildings that resist earthquakes and landslips. Also, bamboo can substitute for wood in many of wood's traditional uses - paper, fibreboard, glue-laminated furniture, panels and flooring. Edible bamboo shoots have developed rapidly in world markets. New uses for charcoal and medicine are developing. There will probably be insufficient wood to satisfy rapidly growing populations with higher living standards in (particularly) India and China. Bamboo can and probably will expand in quantity and quality of uses.


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