Methods of Regenerative Bamboo Shoot Harvesting in Southern Japan

Anthony Di Mari (MArch I)

Project Overview

The aim of this investigation was to explore the methods of harvesting bamboo and ecological strategies for planting in existing bamboo groves. As a regenerative grass, bamboo has vast potential in slowing deforestation, reducing carbon emissions, providing edible shoots, removing toxins from contaminated water, and preventing erosion due to its ability to grow on sloped land. With the considerable advantages of such a resource, it is unfortunate that some bamboo Phyllostachys pubescens forests have been abandoned in parts of southern Japan. This particular species is known for its rhizomatic properties which lead to enhanced propagation. Part of the success of fully utilizing this regenerative resource is being able to manage the harvest and map the plantings of previous years. Adjacent plantings, topographical settings, and the management of the harvesting of the shoots are all factors that need to be examined in order to fully exploit the vast potential of the bamboo.

The potential of the resource demands a mediation that focuses on how each grove functions at a particular scale. In Oharano a facility for harvesting bamboo shoots operates. A pedestrian street is carved out of a large grove in Arashiyama. Several smaller groves exist on the edges of temples in Kyoto. Bamboo is undoubtedly present and thriving in many areas of southern Japan and each grove seems to maintain its own natural existence over time. Due to excessive and at times uncontrollable growth, entire groves rely on a constant clearing and cleaning process. A planting strategy could efficiently control the cycle of the groves, and maintenance could be mitigated. The advantages of such a resource cannot be overlooked.