Hello sustainability enthusiasts! If you enjoyed reading our 25 fascinating facts about Bamboo blog, you’ll love exploring the Bamboo forests of China with us.
You’ll find Bamboo forests on five continents, so why are we focusing on China? It just so happens that many of our international supply chain partners harvest the Bamboo used to make your favorite products in this region. We thought you’d like to know more about where our eco-friendly Bamboo materials come from; keep reading to learn all about the beautiful Chinese Bamboo forests that bring happiness to your home or office.
- Bamboo forests are a major Chinese tourist attraction
You’re not the only one interested in China’s Bamboo forests. Every year thousands of visitors from around the world flock to China, and its Bamboo forests are a chief attraction. In fact, China’s sustainability efforts in recent years deserve credit for boosting the nation’s tourism industry, which was up 14% compared to the previous year in 2016.
- The Sea of Bamboo is the largest Bamboo forest in China
Located in the Sichuan province (China’s wine capitol), the Shunan Bamboo Forest is truly a wonder to behold. The Shunan Forest is actually one of China’s oldest; archeologists and paleontologists have found prehistoric fossils in the region. The lush landscape filled with waterfalls, hiking trails, and a cable to take you to the top emits ample oxygen that leaves visitors feeling refreshed after only a brief stay. The Shunan Forest is home to over 58 different kinds of Bamboo and you’ll be able to bask in the glorious ‘sea of Bamboo’ as well as the mirror lake. Parts of the hit movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon were filmed at this location, the Anji forest.
- You’ll find most Bamboo forests located in Southern China
The humid subtropical climate in Southeastern China creates conditions where Bamboo thrives. Mild winters prevent the plant from getting too cold and humid summers provide ample moisture. Summer monsoons bring substantial rainfall from roughly July through October. Northern China tends to have higher temperatures and less rainfall, which are not as conducive to Bamboo’s growth.
- There are approximately 300 species of Bamboo in China
China showcases ultimate Bamboo biodiversity. You’ll find some of the most recognizable species of Bamboo in China, such as the Moso Bamboo known for its tortoiseshell culms (stems). You may be surprised to learn about the amazing natural color varieties including the deep purple (almost black) Timor black and Teague’s blue species.
- China is the world’s main source for Bamboo
You’ve probably heard about or seen pictures of well known Bamboo forests in Japan, Thailand, and Indonesia. Those forests can’t compare to China’s in terms of sheer land mass. In fact, China accounts for approximately 1/5th of the global Bamboo supply with a total area of about 20,000 sq. kilometers (7,722 sq. miles).
- Colorful Bamboo mushrooms dot the forest landscape
Bamboo forests are lush with other types of flora and fauna. The Bamboo mushroom (Phallus indusiatus aka veiled lady) feeds on the rich soil of Chinese subtropical forests. These mushrooms resemble the species you’ll find at the grocery store; their lacey outer “skirts” would likely be unfamiliar to your eyes. Veiled ladies are considered a delicacy in Chinese cuisine and also have medicinal properties.
- The famous Bamboo-eating Chinese Giant Pandas are no longer endangered
The International Union for Conservation of Nature announced a change in Giant Panda’s status from endangered to vulnerable in the fall of 2016. This news means that conservation efforts are working, although Pandas still face extreme threats from global climate change. The Panda’s fate is closely intertwined with the health of China’s Bamboo forests as Pandas spread seeds that facilitate forest growth.
- Red Pandas and Golden Monkeys feast on Bamboo, too
The lesser known Red Pandas and Golden Monkeys of China’s Bamboo forests chow down on leaves and shoots much like their black and white buddies. Red Pandas eat Bamboo almost exclusively, yet they are mainly found in the cooler, mountainous areas of Central China. Golden snub nosed monkeys are extremely rare with 3 out of 4 species in existence hailing from China. The Monkeys have more diverse diets than their Panda friends, yet Bamboo shoots seem to be their favorite food.
- Most chopsticks you see in restaurants come from Chinese Bamboo
Chopsticks are standard utensils in China and are in hot demand in other countries as well. China produces approximately 57 billion pairs of chopsticks annually along with many other Bamboo products. Good thing Bamboo is a super renewable resource!
- The Anji bamboo forest contains a roller coaster you can ride
Visit the Nanchang Wanda Park to ride the wooden Python coaster! Hang on tight as you hit speeds of 62 mph and careen down a 142.5 drop. Watch this video for a preview of your next adventure:
- New Bamboo forests are springing up as part of the Chinese government’s successful Grain-for-Green reforestation program
The Chinese government made a concerted conservation effort with the ambitious Grain-for-Green initiative aka the Sloping Land Conversion program in 1999. The initiative focuses on conservation and combating erosion by paying farmers to set aside farmland in specified areas in exchange for money and grain subsidies. The program is changing global perceptions about China and ranks as the largest reforestation efforts in the world. Not only does this program improve environmental conditions; it’s helped thousands of Chinese farmers living in poverty.
- The world’s tallest Bamboo plant lives in China’s Menghai forest
The Menghai forest in Southwestern China is an artificial forest associated with the Bamboo Institute at Yunnan Normal University. In 2003, scientists identified a plant now known as the ‘king of Bamboo,” a plant measuring about 46 meters tall! (157 feet)
- The Forest Stewardship Council® recently certified approximately 320,000 acres of forest land in China
In 20015, the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) entered a joint project with Apple to help China reduce its environmental impact particularly with respect to domestic paper production. The project focuses on government policy as well as partnerships with corporate supply chains. As of July 2017 the project is ahead of schedule in terms of acreage certified by the FSC® as being responsibly managed per forestry standards. Read more about this exciting project in the article below and follow the progress on Twitter:
- You can also visit the Bamboo museum in the Anji China forest
Want to learn about the history of Bamboo in China? Check out the dedicated Bamboo museum located at South of Tianhuangping Town, Anji County 313311, China. You’ll see over 400 Bamboo varieties in botanical gardens with Pandas, too! Stop by the museum to see handmade Bamboo items and the plant’s influence on Chinese culture. The museum is located near lots of restaurants and other attractions great for tourists. There’s another Bamboo museum worth seeing at the Shu’nan Bamboo Forest in Changning County.
- The earliest known Bamboo fossils from China date back roughly 16 million years ago
Since many of China’s Bamboo forests date back centuries or longer they’re known to contain ancient mysteries, such as some of the oldest prehistoric fossils. These fossils provide insight into early man as well as plant and animal evolution, including that of Pandas. Researchers discovered the approximately 16 million year old Bamboo remnants in the Yunnan Province, which may help explain tremendous biodiversity seen in this area in today.
— World Wildlife Fund (@World_Wildlife) July 27, 2017
Chinese Bamboo Forest Resources
These 15 facts are just the tip of the culm in terms of what you can discover about China’s national treasures. Increase your Bamboo IQ by visiting the excellent resources below.