Bamboos are one of the fastest growing plants on Earth, and are widely considered to have high ability to capture and sequester atmospheric carbon, and consequently to mitigate climate change. We tested this hypothesis by measuring carbon dioxide (CO2 ) emissions from bamboo culms and comparing them with their biomass sequestration potential. We analysed diurnal effluxes from Bambusa vulgaris culm surface and gas mixtures inside hollow sections of various bamboos using gas chromatography. Corresponding variations in gas pressure inside the bamboo section and culm surface temperature were measured. SEM micrographs of rhizome and bud portions of bamboo culms were also recorded. We found very high CO2 effluxes from culm surface, nodes and buds of bamboos. Positive gas pressure and very high concentrations of CO2 were observed inside hollow sections of bamboos. The CO2 effluxes observed from bamboos were very high compared to their carbon sequestration potential. Our measurements suggest that bamboos are net emitters of CO2 during their lifespan.
Keywords: bamboos; carbon balance; carbon dioxide emission; carbon sequestration; geosphere-biosphere interaction; plant respiration.
© 2016 German Botanical Society and The Royal Botanical Society of the Netherlands.