Carbon Farming with Timber Bamboo: A Superior Sequestration System Compared to Wood

“suggests that the majority of bamboo’s carbon capture occurs in the first 15 years, decades earlier than trees.”

  • Carbon Benefit Multiple
  • 4.9 - 6 times them carbon that wood does
  • Carbon Dioxide removal (CDR)


  • Sum of migtigation is calculated, but not the timing. We need decision making tools that account for the timing of carbon flows.

    Among climate policy professionals, afforestation applies to land that has not had a forest on it in 50 years, while reforestation applies to land that has been converted to non-forest uses prior to year-end 198

  • Carbon sequestration slows as forests become more mature

  • HWPs include lumber, panels, paper and paperboard as well as wood used for fuel.

Forests may be naturally or culturally established but will have a higher degree of biodiversity. Plantations will be culturally established and managed with more focus on the immediately productive value. The manner of harvest likely has the biggest impact on the biodiversity with clear-cutting significantly disrupting biodiversity and inter-cutting impacting biodiversity far less.

  • The faster or more frequently you can harvest, the more carbon that cab be farmed from the atmosphere
  • Calculating carbon flows for timber are outlined in Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas inventories
  • Goal is near term capture and long-term storage of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

QUESTION how can you include “wood used for fuel” in HWP mitigation efforts? Burning releases carbon?

TODO what is biochar?


  • Three species of timber bamboo for HWP production
  • cradle-to-gate carbon flow model
  • annual sequestration rates from publicly available data

Section 2: Carbon Capture Through Wood and Bamboo Afforestation

  • Bonn Challenge and 20x20 are two A/R target programs.
  • Argues that timber bamboo A/R programs are more potent at generating near term CO2 removal

Three observations:

  • There is a significant shortfall between the broad goals of the overall programs and the specific commitments of the program participants

  • Faltering progress by participants against their commitments

  • There is a general indifference to timing considerations

    Our view is that implementing A/R schemes must now intentionally anticipate and incorporate the need for near term carbon capture. To this end, consideration of timber bamboo, which has significant sequestration timing advantages, needs to be embraced, studied and included.

Section 3:

TODO I don’t understand the species v location math. Article says 8, I feel like it should be 15 (5 loc x 3 species)

  • Wood v. Bamboo A/R
    • wood model comes from USFS
    • Creates a bamboo model
  • multiple models for the bamboo to allay the concerns around a single assumptive failure

we begin with the USFS (Forest Service) carbon flow model for wood A/R and then build a generalized carbon flow model for multiple species and locations of timber bamboo A/R that can be directly compared to the wood results from the USFS model.

Three bamboo species:

  • Guadua angustifolia
  • Dendrocalamus asper (primary bamcore)
  • Bambusa bambos

BC Model

BC Model incorporates 42 variables:

  • Annual growth and accumulation of biomass (and thus carbon) above and below ground separately,
  • Distribution of growth and accumulation of biomass by plant organ,
  • Ground litter development lag and prevalence,
  • Age of first harvestable biomass from planting and age of culm when first harvested,
  • Gregarious or mast flowering by percentage, including pre-emptive harvestability and lag to replant, and
  • Post maturity growth and accumulation rates and caps from maximum accumulation during “equilibrium”.

Harvesting (CF2)

  • Wood ranges from 25 to 75 years
  • Bamboo annual after 6-9 years
    • 2+ years can be used for paper/pulp 2+ years can be used for paper/pulp
    • 3+ years can be used for older
  • bamboo is 72% efficient, wood is 33% efficient at harveset
  • Burnt wood may not be carbon neutral because of the slow growing re-capture, wheras bamboo likely is because of the growth speed
  • Bamboo is not clear cut and can re-grow much faster

TODO support for this

  • harvested softwoods are turned into HWP is less efficient than bamboo

TODO difference between stand age and individual culm age?

TODO methodological question.. is this an appropriate assumption:

However, to achieve comparability with bamboo, we constrain both wood and timber bamboo to only two HWP options–paper and oriented strand board OSB.

For wood, the USFS model directly incorporates these three elements for each of the species and forest types covered. For timber bamboo, the BC model incorporates these elements. The USFS model includes two stages of conversion efficiency. The first stage occurs in the field at the time of harvest. That is, what portion of the felled tree is converted to roundwood that is taken to the mill versus what portions are left on the ground to decay or otherwise emit carbon. The second stage is the waste that is produced during the production of the HWP.

TODO Could you modify harvesting practices to be more efficient for carbon capture?

BC Model

  • The vintage of the culms being harvested annually,
  • The portions of the culm and above ground biomass that will be productized versus emitted as waste,
  • A transit burden to transport timber bamboo raw material from harvest locations in the tropics, and
  • The proportion of mast flowering as appropriate by species, and when occurring the portion of culms

harvestable followed by a configurable planting lag.

Final disposition, landfill, and methane CF3

  • Updates to the USFS model for percent degradable, degradation initiation, and degredation timeline
  • bamboo ends up in the landfill faster
  • They do some modeling of different CO2 equivalents for methane.

TODO does bamboo produce similar or different methane?

BC Model

the BC model specifies: • The portions of paper and OSB that are discarded to landfills versus emitted following use by being burned, • The portions of paper and OSB that are degradable versus the final inert landfill residuals, • The separate half-life assumptions for the degradable portions of paper and OSB, • The separate lag periods before degradation begins, • The portions of the degradable portions that will be emitted as CO2 versus methane, and • The CO2 equivalent level for the methane emitted portion.

Carbon Flow Projections (Expected case) for each species-location

The average total of accumulation of carbon across the eight timber bamboo projections is 555 mt/ha, while for wood that average totals 112 mt/ha. Thus, a hectare of timber bamboo can accumulate 443 mt/ha carbon more than wood, nearly five times as much. Expressed in CO2, timber bamboo accumulates 1,625 mt/ha more than wood does.

TODO what does this mean?

For the timber bamboo annual carbon flow projections shown in Figure 3.6A, the protruding positive projections show the carbon capture during early period initial growth out to about year 16. Since these three species are not known to mast flower, there are no observable negative flows in the projections (though mast flowering is captured in the Low Case, see below

Section 4: Carbon Benefit Multiple (CBM)

  • Establishes a single metric and decision making framework for evaluating wood v bamboo

Section 5: Conclusion 1 Bamboo outperforms wood for carbon farming

Section 6: Productizing Timber bamboo into durable carbon storing products

Section 7: Net effects on capture

We find that if BamCore’s Prime Wall System captured 20% of new housing starts in the G-7 region, 23.5 gigatonnes of atmospheric CO2 could be removed over the next 100 years. And to do so would only require the incremental planting of 852,000 hectares of bamboo; an area just over 2% of today’s standing bamboo stock and less than .02% of existing wood stock, indicating its reasonable feasibility.

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