Monday, December 17, 2007

Bamboo is Best for Carbon Sequestering & Humans' Role as Earth's Stewards

Hi Dakota!

Thanks for your thoughtful response to my idea of bamboo as a top carbon sequestering plant. My response:

Regarding the point that the article made about there becoming too many leaves adversely affecting plants and soils. To me this idea seems far fetched and only plausible if there was a huge change in leaf production to a large amount throughout the year, which I don't forsee. And don;t forget there is a large leaf drop each fall and this does not adversely harm plants. In fact plants rely on this nutrient recycling, and I see this process as the way that the nutrients of the soil are brought to the soil surface and made more available to the plants roots and soil microorganisms.

People have been adding mulches to soil surfaces with no adverse affects in the long term. Mulch is, in effect, a very dense form of leaf matter.

There may be a change in the soil structure and organisms living in it. But this is surely caused by humans through many means. For instance, the introduced European earthworms are taking over the US and greatlly altering the soils' fertility and structure and thus changing the plant compositions of many forests.

Regarding bamboo. I think Bamboo is a great plant for purifying the air, puttin gout more oxygen than most plants, through most of the year. Running Bamboo can be contained with root barriers, or is easier to contain in urban settings with bldg. walls, concrete sidewalks, etc. In rural settings we could grow large stands of running bamboo without much worry since there is room. Here it can be contained if nec. through mowing. I have seen such stands in rural Maryland.

Also there are beautiful Clumping forms of Bamboo as well that do NOT run and stay in one clump that slowly expands to form a wonderful clump. My father has been designing gardens and included these clumps bamboo to great effect. One can also see them in many botanic gardens in Europe. The best genus, Fargesia, works well in small gardens too.

I think it is a great idea to include more plants in our urban environments, and more variety in our suburban environments in addition to the ubiquitous lawn. Adding more plants, esp. bamboo, wil limprove our air quality and lower CO2. But I also believe we humans should be investing much time and money on lowernig our emissions of all kinds to as low as possible levels as technology allows. We should be stewards of the earth, not destoyers, as we currently are.

That is why I do ecotours to Germany to show how this country is effectively striving toward a more sustainable future through increasing renewable energy use, great mass transit, great urban planning, wonderful green spaces, roofgardens, widespread bike paths, cutting edge architecture, etc. See I am currently planning future tours which will be up soon.


Roland Oehme
Green Harmony Design