Fascinating article by Stephanie Dyer in the February/March 2016 issue of Timber iQ about Kiaat, a widely used wood native to Africa.
Kiaat takes up to 80 years to mature, is nitrogen fixing and planted to combat soil erosion. According to Stephanie the harvesting of this precious resource is currently not taking place at a sustainable pace and the species is under threat. Large quantities are exported yearly out of Mozambique, Zambia and other African countries, although it is classified protected species in South Africa.
"Over exploitation of this useful multipurpose tree is endangering its natural populations. Current harvesting is not sustainable and has raised serious concerns regarding the long-term viability of the species. This has resulted in the tree being declared ‘Protected’ in South Africa under the National Forests Act No. 84 of 1998. Since 1998, harvesting of Kiaat in South Africa is only permitted under licence or exemption from the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Kiaat is also listed in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as ‘Lower Risk/Near Threatened.’"
Kiaat is widely used in construction, especially in wood flooring, paneling and furniture due to its aesthetic appeal and durability. This is where Bamboo comes in. If you look at the comparison image above you can see that our Bamboo flooring option is almost indistinguishable from the native Kiaat wood.
If you consider then the benefits that come with using the highly renewable resource, then it staggers the mind to think that we are using a resource that takes 80 years to mature when bamboo takes 5 to 7 years in comparison and can be harvested repeatedly. Added to that is the fact that bamboo is excellent in combating soil erosion and is naturally insect resistant.
Choosing a sustainable eco-friendly option is vital to our way of life and our planets way of life. We need to make choices that is good for the pocket AND the planet.
"Pterocarpus angolensis (African teak, wild teak, Afrikaans: Kiaat, Sotho: Morôtô, Tswana: Mokwa, Venda: Mutondo, Shona: Mukwa, Shona: Mubvamaropa, Zulu: Umvangazi) is a species of Pterocarpus native to southern Africa, in Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zaire, Zimbabwe,and Zambia. It is a protected tree in South Africa. The name Kiaat, although Afrikaans, is sometimes used outside South Africa as well. In Zimbabwe, depending on what region you are in, it is known as Mukwa or Mubvamaropa." From Wikipedia
Eco-friendly tourism is paying off in a big way for Botswana. From solar-powered boats to electrical vehicles for game viewing are just the start. Green building practises are also on the increase with many lodges opting for bamboo flooring and composite decking instead of natural wood and laminate flooring.
Luxury with a reduced footprint
"Chobe Game Lodge on Botswana's northern border is one of the country's luxurious facilities which prides itself on an environmental focus. "We've cut down our waste footprint by about 95%," said Johan Bruwer, general manager of the lodge.
One way of doing this is by using solar-powered boats and electrical vehicles for game viewing. "Our goal is to, in the next 18 months to 24 months, to offer our guests a total emission-free, carbon-free game viewing experience," said Bruwer.
Another lodge further south in the Okavanga Delta called Sandibe Okavango is proud of its eco-credentials. All water is treated and recycled onsite and 70% of the lodge's power comes from solar panels."
Eco Bamboo Africa prides itself in providing a self-sustainable Bamboo flooring product that is not only high in quality, offers a superior solution and is affordable, but aids in the positive wellbeing of mother earth for future generations. From crop to finish, Eco Bamboo spares no expense to provide a truly eco-friendly product.
Firstly, our bamboo is grown in their natural environment in jungles. No land has been cleared or eco systems destroyed. Our factories, where manufacturing takes place, are found situated centrally in the jungle which reduces transport and thus carbon emissions. The processing plant makes use of steam generated by the bamboo waste to be powered and then operated. Hydro electricity is also used from the nearby streams and rivers. Some electricity is used to operate slicing machine. Great care is taken to keep environmental disturbances to a minimum.
Our success is shown by the high quality of clean air and water of the surrounding the rivers and lakes. Although much has been achieved we continually strive to ensure that we truly are the eco-friendly choice.
Bamboo is to the environment as penicillin is to the human race. It literally protects and heals the earth while growing! Bamboo produces 35% more oxygen and absorbs 5 times more carbon dioxide and greenhouse gasses than an equivalent size stand of trees. Its widespread root system reduces soil erosion and its nitrogen absorption helps mitigate water pollution and in turn the soil as well. Bamboo is self-sustainable. After the bamboo plant perishes, its root system survives and becomes stronger with each generation. Its anti-bacterial and fungal properties allows no need for harmful chemicals or pesticides It grows incredibly fast and can be harvested with no effect on the eco system.
A recent composite decking installation in Val De Vie in Paarl, Western Cape by our installation partner Bamboo Warehouse. Once more showing how bamboo can create, transform and inspire.
More great news out of Africa as 18 African countries have so far joined INBAR in promoting & developing Bamboo as a sustainable resource.
"To tap into this lucrative green economy, African governments and the private sector have begun positioning themselves to commercialize bamboo. The profit potential has become even greater as environmentalists link bamboo with climate change mitigation, and the possibility of increased income through carbon credits.
So far 18 African countries with natural bamboo—Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Kenya, Malawi, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Togo, and Uganda—have joined INBAR, which is assisting them with bamboo information, technology transfer, capacity building and policy formulation. Other countries, like Angola, Gabon and Zambia, are expected to join the network.
According to INBAR’s director general, Hans Friederich, bamboo can be a strong pillar of Africa’s future green economy. He says it can help reduce poverty and protect the environment, and that it provides a practical and rapid solution for some of the natural resource and poverty challenges facing many African countries today."
Another example of the many uses of the wonder plant bamboo. This time in Hong Kong where they use it as scaffolding in construction projects, with many reaching as high as 90 levels. Because its hollow and strong bamboo is lighter and cheaper than metal scaffolding, acccoring to the local experts. Even the Great Wall of China was built using bamboo! In Africa it is also being used in construction projects, mostly in Nigeria, in small scale construction projects.
When it comes to renovating or building our homes, we can all agree that one of the most difficult decisions to make are which floors to lay down. There are countless different options; laminate, tiles, hardwood, carpets, bamboo. Not to mention the variance in price, advantages, shortcomings,. , an endless list! We have to take all these factors into account and play a game of risk management. Below we take a look at the benefits of laminate vs bamboo vs hardwood floors:
|Man-made artificial wood made from chip board||Bamboo is a fast growing grass that is a highly renewable resource||Traditional real wood such as oak.|
|Cheaper||Bamboo flooring is priced competitively for the quality valuing consumer. Less expensive than hardwood||Expensive.|
|Customer wanting a real wood finish but with a tight budget.||Eco savvy, and trendy this customer values quality, style and durability|| |
For customers where budget is not a factor nor the environmental impact is not a priority.
|A good laminate flooring looks almost identical to wood at a low cost||An attractive alternative. Its appearance and durability is similar and equal to that of hardwood.||Timeless and classic with the realwood feel|
|Very easy. DIY||Simple. DIY||Complex and often comes with many challenges. Professional Installation|
|Easy maintenance and cleaning.||Very little maintenace required. Extremely low maitenance long-term||Wood products required to clean, wax, oil polish and protect.|
|Laminate floor is often sealed and manufactured with products that emit high levels of formaldehyde.||Eco Bamboo Africa’s Flooring uses less than 0,2 parts per million formaldehyde and uses only dynea eco-friendly glue which conforms to the EU standards of safety.||Hardwood floor is often sealed with a coating that emits high levels of formaldehyde.|
|Artificial wood with a wide variety of made finishes available.||Ethier natural or carbonised. There are stains available but not reccommended.||Extensive range of naturally occurring and man made colours, textures and finishes available..|
|Short life span.||Proper care, Eco Bamboo flooring can last for many decades or a lifetime.||Long life span.|
|Install only laminated floor boards that have been treated with anti-termites chemicals and do not use in humid areas.||Resistant to dust mites, termites, insects and bacteria.||Because it is a natuarlal product it is vulnerable to dust mites, termites, insects and bacteria.|
|When walked on there is a very tap tap sound.||Solid sound and feel under foot.||Solid sound and feel under foot.|
We may be a little biased yet it is clear to see which product comes out on top. Our Bamboo is best!
Architects are making great use of thie eco-friendly and self-sustainable product. Letting their creativity run wild. These architects are creating transformative spaces that can only be described as a work of art. Bamboo is uniquely strong with and creative edge. Its versatility allows captivating creations.
Click here to view our complete bamboo board on Pinterest for more inspiring ideas and for the orginal links to the images above