Bamboo’s Reaches Bring More Bamboo Breeches

Bamboo Poles

For most of us in the Western Hemisphere, we’ve likely seen strands of bamboo growing along our neighbor’s property line, or maybe a clump of bamboo growing in someone’s Asian-landscaped garden – but that’s the extent of it. We’ve never been exposed, up front and personal, to vast bamboo forests that stretch across thousands of acres, covering mountains, fields and even cities.

Up until recently, with the mainstream introduction of so many bamboo-based commodities, the most contact any of us had had with bamboo’s vastness was watching the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Little did we know that bamboo goodness is growing all around us, but just how big is the bamboo-agricultural industry anyway? Bamboo’s immense reach in several locations across the world is staggering to the imagination; and, being a partaker and purveyor of bamboo goods myself, knowing more about bamboo makes it that much more enjoyable.

As an example of how well bamboo has taken root over the past several centuries and recent decades, here’s a snapshot of some 2010 and 2011 statistics shared on the Business Mirror that draws a comparison between the Philippine’s bamboo output and China’s:

The Philippine’s estimated bamboo stands between 39,211 and 52,711 hectares, yielding a maximum of 52 million poles. According to the Philippine Exporters Confederation, 69 percent of those bamboo groves were natural stands in public forests while the rest were planted on private lands.

China’s provinces boast 5.38 million hectares of bamboo plantations and an increase of 100,000 hectares annually. China’s bamboo industry has provided more than 35 million jobs, and the bamboo sector chalked up 70 billion Yuan ($11 billion) in total output value in 2010.

In Asia alone, there are nearly 20 categories of woven bamboo products, including fruit baskets, trays, bottles, jars, boxes, cases, bowls, fans, screens, curtains, cushions, lampshades, and lanterns.

Bamboo fiber, as many of you know after having enjoyed Cariloha’s bamboo clothing, bedding and bath goods, retains its antibacterial and anti-ultraviolet wave properties even after repeated washing because of bamboo kun, a naturally occurring substance in the plan that helps fight off disease and insects. Bamboo fabric does not hold odors like other fabrics, and it’s also soft like cashmere.

The almost endless uses and increased demand for bamboo are on the rise and not just in Asia. Just like the Philippines, which is significantly expanding its bamboo industry, plantations in Africa, South America, Latin America, Hawaii, and North America are expanding their bamboo growth rates and production output as well.

What does all this bamboo growth amount to for fans of bamboo clothing, bedding and bath goods? It means more bamboo clothing styles, fabric textures, application varieties and consumer availability than ever before. So, with bamboo ever on the rise, Cariloha is looking forward to bring you even more of what its proprietary bamboo blends have to offer, which is a lot.

Source: Business Mirror, The Wonders of Bamboo, Marilou Guieb, March 3, 2012,