CANCUN, Mexico, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- A world meeting at the Cancun, Mexico, climate summit searching for ways to mitigate climate-changing gas emissions should consider bamboo, advocates say.
Bamboo grows quickly, needs little water, absorbs carbon dioxide, protects estuaries and can withstand storms, Coosje Hoogendoorn, head of the Beijing-based International Network for Bamboo and Rattan, told the Tierramerica news service.
There are more than 1,000 species of bamboo in the world, including 36 species in Mexico, but they have gone unstudied and underutilized, Inter Press Service reported.
People scorn the plant and consider it a pest, particularly in areas where coffee, banana, tobacco and cocoa are grown, or where there is extensive cattle production, INBAR experts say.
And yet bamboo, already used in housing, furniture and other areas, has potential to help in the battle against global warming, advocates say.
In 10 years, 2-1/2 acres of bamboo in China captures 30 tons more carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas, than the same area of China fir trees, they say.
"Sustainable management and the appropriate use of bamboo can increase the quantity of sequestered carbon through changes in management that increase the storage capacity within the ecosystem in the short term," INBAR says.
Bamboo forestry has gained ground in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, and more recently in Argentina, all members of INBAR along with Cuba, Panama and Venezuela, the organization says.