Every six seconds fifteen acres of the planet are deforested. That’s 60,000 sqm, or six hectares, or nine football pitches. Every six seconds….the time it’s taken you to read these words. Shot in a bamboo forest in Anhui Province, China, the exposure time of each of these images is six seconds.
For the Chinese bamboo holds iconic status, representing the harmony between nature and man – and symbolising civilisation. In folklore, literature, calligraphy and painting bamboo’s characteristics embody the finest human virtues – integrity, humility and purity. Comparing a person to bamboo is the highest possible praise of their character.
Touted as a miracle crop to counter deforestation, bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants on earth. Growing up to four feet a day, one hectare of bamboo sequesters sixty-two tons of carbon dioxide per year. Generating up to 35% more oxygen than an equivalent stand of trees it can be used to produce everything from food, fabrics, paper, building material and oil.
However rising demand from the west has brought new environmental concerns for bamboo forests. Increased use of unregulated pesticides for production plus the strong chemical solvents required to process the bamboo have poisoned watercourses and threaten precious animal habitat. Indiscriminate harvesting has resulted in half the world’s species of bamboo now being in imminent danger of extinction.