Bamboo should be one of the world’s 7 wonders !
Fast growing and sustainable : Bamboo is part of the grass family. In fact, it has some of its largest members. Bamboo is super versatile and is used to make furniture, flooring and fabrics...
There are about 1,000 species of bamboo which grows in warmer and colder climates. Even though bamboo is a grass, some species are called bamboo trees due to the tree-like appearance.
Harvesting of the bamboo can happen on a yearly basis without having any impact on the availability of bamboo thanks to it being one of the fastest growing plants on the planet. Bamboo can grow up to 1 meter per day (you can literally watch it grow). It’s very much like cutting grass in a garden which will grow back within a very short timespan.
During harvesting, the bamboo is not killed nor uprooted unlike most trees. Which means the topsoil is also held in place preventing drying out of the soil which prevents it from becoming barren.
Comparing bamboo to hardwood trees, for example, hardwood can take decades to reach maturity. Whereas bamboo matures within a 6 year period and the growth rate is so much higher that it can be harvested on a yearly basis...Great news for the preservation of the land, but how does harvesting of bamboo affect Pandas as it is their main food source?
Pandas consume a mostly vegetarian diet although they are known to sometimes hunt small rodents. A giant panda can eat between 26 - 83 pounds ( 13 - 42 kgs ) of bamboo per day!
That is a lot of bamboo eating in a day, but the reason for pandas eating so much bamboo is because it is low in nutrients.
Pandas eat a handful types of bamboo such as the arrow bamboo and black bamboo (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudosasa_japonica). Arrow Bamboo is a staple food source for pandas and is abundantly available throughout remote mountainous regions of China. The supply of this type of bamboo is higher than consumption.
Moso Bamboo (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phyllostachys_edulis ), is the type of bamboo used for the production of fabric used in the textile industry. Moso bamboo is easily grown and has no need for pesticides in cultivation.
Why panda’s do not eat Mosa Bamboo?
The answer is a simple one…
Giant pandas grow up to 4- 5 feet (1.2 m to 1.5 m). Moso Bamboo is a giant type of grass which grows up to 16 ft ( 5 m).
The panda diet consists of leaves, stems and shoots of bamboo. These parts of the plant are easily accessible to pandas when consuming arrow bamboo. When it comes to Moso, they simply cannot reach the delicious parts for consumption.
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