Interesting Bamboo Facts

Most of the +400 bamboo plants growing at PermaTree have been growing well and even better since we keep them clean from the fast growing pasture grass 🙂 For of our tropical permaculture soil improvement goal we have been implementing bamboo. Not only bamboo grass but mainly bamboo grass and vetiver grass. Both are very interesting to restore poor soil and keep soil erosion and run off to something from the past.

For you to enjoy some bamboo photos of the Giant Bamboo leafs as well as the Bamboo Bicolor leafs. Most plants still need a few year to grow mature about 7.5 years but some of them are already producing lots of leaves and those leaves are helping to mulch the soil.

BTW Did you know that Bamboo is one of the most exploited plants on the planet because its cultivation doesn’t require too much effort.

More interesting Facts about Bamboo:

permatree Bamboo - Dendrocalamus Asper aka Giant Bamboo

Did you know that Bamboo is … produces more oxygen than a tree?!

Bamboo absorbs carbon dioxide and emits 30% more oxygen into the atmosphere than its tree equivalent?

 

Did you know that Bamboo is … Food?!

Bamboo shoots have been a staple food source for thousands of years, especially in the Asian culture. Bamboo shoots are low in fat and calories. It is also an excellent source of fiber and potassium. One serving of bamboo shoots provides 10% of your daily recommended intake. Young shoots of bamboo contain toxin called taxiphyllin. Because of that, bamboo needs to be cooked (high temperature destroys toxin) before consumption.

Did you know that Bamboo is … Antibacterial?!

Bamboo as a plant in nature is actually antibacterial, and has the ability to withstand some of the most vociferous bacteria out there.  Bamboo contains a natural bio-agent known as Bamboo Kun. Bamboo Kun is naturally anti-bacterial. It is so effective that it eliminates and prevents over 70% of bacteria that attempt to grow on it, whether this be in its natural or fabric form.  Bamboo does not require any pesticides or chemical fertilizers for healthy growth. It is seldom eaten by pests or infected with pathogens as a result of the Bamboo Kun.

permatree Bamboo - Dendrocalamus Asper aka Giant Bamboo - Close up green bamboo leaf

Did you know that Bamboo … Flowers ?!

Flowers of bamboo are rarely seen. Some species of bamboo develop flowers after 65 or 120 years. Interesting fact about flowering is that all plants of one bamboo species develop flowers at the same time, no matter where they are located in the world.

Did you know that Bamboo is … fast growing?!

Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on this planet. It is the only plant left in the race of matching human consumption and deforestation. Bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants in the world, and some species can grow up to 90 cm or 35 inches per day. One of the most amazing quality of bamboo is its ability renew growth. Even after a harvest new shoots will grow out in no time. That’s over 1.5″ (3.8cm) in one hour!! No other plant on earth can do this.

Did you know that Bamboo is … for controlling soil erosion?!

Bamboo is very successful in controlling soil erosion. Even after the shoots are cut the amazing root system ensures that the soil remains intact. Bamboo had been found to be useful in controlling landslides, land degradation and soil mass movement. It can also improve the quality, moisture and stability of the soil.

Did you know that Bamboo is … Kind to the Environment?!

When bamboo is harvested, it will continue to grow new shoots from its amazing root system. There is no additional planting or cultivation. Bamboo requires no chemicals, pesticides or fertilizer to grow and thrive. It’s very own fallen leaves provide the necessary nutrients that get recycled back into the soil.  Every part of the plant can be utilized in one way or another with zero waste. After the bamboo material has reached it’s life span, it can be recycled back into our good earth.

 

PermaTree’s productive and nutritional capacity. Summary and conclusion.

The completion of this SIP (Self Initiated Project) during August 2017 demanded many volunteer hours which, according to Yago and Btina Veith, permacultors and owners of the Yantza farm, located in the south east of Ecuador, and creators of the PermaTree.org project, is innovative. Since it combines the technique and practice of permaculture, with the science of nutrition in detail.

PermaTree’s productive and nutritional capacity.

The challenge was to analyze what nutrients would be provided to the people of the farm in the short, medium and long term, based on the variety of crops sown, and predict and forecast how much food would be available, to uncover the capacity of future supply.

Those questions were answered. The most important species, representing the not inconsiderable number of more than thirty, among fruits, vegetables, cereals, legumes and nuts were taken into account. These are the food groups that I consider indispensable, and without contraindications, to develop a full and long life.

Summary and conclusion.

The current 4.5 hectares allow for food and economic self-sufficiency of at least 10 families after 7 to 10 years.

Considering the following important clarifications:

  • Family: 2 adults + 2 children;
  • 3 hectares are dedicated to cultivation for commercial economic purposes;
  • 1.5 hectares are dedicated to the edible forest and orchard;
  • Food wholly of vegetable origin;
  • It is understood that the economic self-sufficiency generated by the commercial activity is allocated primarily to the other 2 basic necessities: clothing and housing.
  • Development and production of food for tropical climate.
  • Location of the property: 800 mosl.

This portion of the farm property represents only 11% of what PermaTree will allocate to the development of edible forest and human settlements, being only 6% when compared to the total size of the farm, as well as a large part of the secondary native forest , almost 50%, will remain intact.

List of food components planted / planted in 4.5 Has:

PermaTree Crops

Most important crops, in order of greatest quantity to minor:

  1. Guanabana Annona muricata (Graviola, 3 hectares, own consumption and commercial purpose),
  2. Banana and banana Musa (100 main + children: approx 600 units, 10 with fruits in sight),
  3. Papaya Carica (Mamón, 15 growing trees, 7 with fruits in sight, incalculable seeds scattered),
  4. Chirimoya Annona cherimola (15 young plants),
  5. Yucca Manihot esculenta (Yucca, 20 x 20 m),
  6. Coconut palm Cocos nucifera (40 young plants),
  7. Cacao Theobroma (20 Amazonian natives bearing fruit, 5 grafts bearing fruit),
  8. Pineapple Ananas comosus (Ananá, 40 young plants with complications due to small herbivores such as rabbits),
  9. Avocado Persea americana (Avocado, not yet fruit, 40 between seedlings and young plants),
  10. Corn Zea Mays (30mx15m),
  11. Sweet lemon Citrus limetta (Lima, 5 trees already bearing fruit),
  12. Lemongrass Citrus limonia (acid, 5 trees already bearing fruit),
  13. Orange Citrus sinensis (1 tree bearing fruit, 20 planted),
  14. Mango Mangifera indica (10 trees planted, one adult).
  15. Mandarina Citrus reticulata or mandarin (1 tree bearing fruit, 10 young trees),
  16. Grapefruit Citrus paradisi (Grapefruit, 15 young trees planted),
  17. Frutipan Artocarpus altilis (10 young trees planted),
  18. Grape of Pourouma cecropiifolia (Caimarón, 25 young plants),
  19. Chonta palm tree Bactris gasipaes (Chontaduro, 3 with fruit in sight, 8 young plants),
  20. Rice sativa rice (10 m x 10 m, experimental),
  21. Passion fruit Passiflora edulis (8 m x 10 m),
  22. Yellow Pitahaya Selenicereus megalanthus (Dragonfruit, 10 m x 13 m, approx 40 plants),
  23. Macadamia nut Macadamia integrifolia (5 seedlings),
  24. Carambola Averrhoa carambola (Starfruit, 2 plantines),
  25. Chaya Cnidoscolus aconitifolius (Spinach tree, 4 young plants)
  26. Naranjilla Solanum quitoense (Lulo, 2 young plants with fruit in sight),
  27. Beans adzuki and others Vigna angularis and Phaseolus vulgaris (Beans, experimental row),
  28. Lentils Lens culinaris (experimental row),
  29. Huerta / vegetables: experimental, some cherry tomatoes, peppers, pumpkin, carrot.

Bees: The farm counts on bees that collaborate in the natural process of pollination, favoring the reproduction of the diverse cultivated species. In addition, honey production is planned, which may be for consumption and commercial purposes. The nutritional benefits of honey, summarized in a large contribution of energy through its high carbohydrate content (80%), are not part of this work.

Author: Juan Manuel Esteche
Student of Nutrition at the Barceló Foundation (Bs As, Argentina), and independent researcher. Currently touring South America.

If you are interested in knowing the work in detail, which provides information on the macro (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins, antioxidants, phytochemicals and minerals) of each food planted or planted, as well as the variety and quantity exact that you must generate to achieve PRODUCTIVE AND NUTRITIONAL SELF-RESPONSIBILITY, you can send an e-mail to juanesteche80 @ gmail.com.

The Oriente – Ecuador’s Amazonian region

Amazon River Basin

Amazon River Basin
Image: Amazon River Basin

The Amazon rainforest of Ecuador or “El Oriente” of Ecuador is the country’s largest region. Nothing is just ordinary in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Ecuador’s Amazonian jungle, one of the country’s most thrilling destinations. At first glance, the rain forest is a vast green wilderness. However, as one observes carefully, this ecosystem is full of surprises for its visitors.

This area has the highest biodiversity in Ecuador, with more than 800 species of birds, more than 2500 types of insects and more than 450 species of endemic flora.

No other Ecuadorian habitat overwhelms the senses like the tropical rainforest, with its cacophonous soundtrack of birds and insects, the rich smell of steaming foliage and teeming soil, the glimmer of fluorescent birds and butterflies in the understory, or the startling clamour of a troop of monkeys clattering through the canopy above.

To give you an idea just how great the Amazon is, there are islands in the Amazon River that are nearly as big as the country of Switzerland in Europe. 

This is the Oriente’s star attraction, and what most visitors are here for – though the region, which occupies a massive area covering almost half the country, contains a good deal more besides. The alto (high) Oriente starts on the eastern Andean flank, where the high, windswept páramo steadily gives way to dripping montane forests, swathed in mist and draped with mosses and epiphytes, as the elevation decreases. Waterfalls plunge into broadening valleys, and temperatures rise the further you descend. Down in the foothills, poised between the sierra and the lowlands, lies a beguiling landscape of rippling hills and verdant, subtropical forests, home to a startling diversity of birds. Continuing east, the mountain ridges eventually taper away into the bajo (low) Oriente like talons sinking into the deep velvet of a vast emerald wilderness.

Population

One of three regions (the costa, the sierra and the oriente), the Oriente contains nearly half of the square footage of the country, but less than 5% of the 12.5 million population of Ecuador. Zamora – The City of Birds and Waterfalls If you’re looking for a destination in Ecuador with a difference, Zamora might just be what you had in mind. With only about 16,000 people living in the entire Zamora-Chinchipe province, this is one of the most sparsely populated parts of the country.

Southern Oriente

Ecuador’s southern Oriente is less developed than its northern counterpart in every way, with fewer roads, fewer towns, fewer tourists and less oil activity. The region’s two main population centres are Puyo, the provincial capital of Pastaza, and Macas, 129km further south, capital of the province of Morona-Santiago. Settlement by colonists is largely confined to a long, thin strip flanking the Troncal Amazónica (the Amazon highway), which runs from north to south through the region, in the selva alta, parallel with the eastern flank of the Andes. This road, mostly paved between Puyo and Limón, is virtually the only road in the southern Oriente, with access east into the heart of the tropical rainforest possible only by boat along the numerous rivers coiling through the forest, or by chartered light aircraft.

Climate

The climate in the low Oriente is what you’d expect from a rainforest – hot, humid and plenty of rain. The wettest months are April to July, but expect cloudbursts most days year round, usually in the early afternoon. Average daytime temperatures are around 25°C, though daily highs can be over 32°C. With such consistent conditions, the Oriente doesn’t have a high tourist season; at slow times of year, when there are few tourists in the country as a whole (Feb to mid-June & Sept–Nov), it’s worth asking for discounts.

History

Human settlements have existed in the Oriente since sometime around 2450 BC.  Early indigenous of the Oriente lived in a region rich in natural resources: rivers, plants, tropical fruits and of course–gold.

The Quijos region east of Coca was well known to the Incas, who ventured downhill to meet lowland tribes in peace and battle. It was also the first area east of the Andes to be penetrated by the Spanish. The anniversary of the European discovery of the Amazon River (February 12) is still celebrated in jungle cities with markets and fairs. Within a few centuries after European contact most of the region’s tens of thousands of inhabitants had fallen victim to smallpox and cholera.

Rumours of the jungle being el pais de canela (“the land of cinnamon”), a place of abundant fruits and spices, and the legend of El Dorado, the “Golden Man”, drew the early explorers here, suggesting to them a land of staggering natural riches.

The first Europeans to venture here soon found this fabled earthly paradise had a nightmarish underside; their parties were plunged into an impenetrable green hell (“el infierno verde”), teeming with poisonous snakes and biting insects. A string of catastrophic expeditions in the early colonial period quickly discouraged the Spanish from colonizing the Oriente at all.

The name itself “El Oriente” has its origins from back in time. The great province of Oriente was created during the first government of Gabriel Garcia Moreno in 1861, under a character of Special District with capital in Archidona. The province consisted of two cantons, the Napo canton whose capital was Archidona and the Canelos canton whose capital was Canelos.1 The Oriente was dissolved on December 15, 1920 in the Napo Pastaza and Santiago Zamora provinces by the government that presided over the José Luis Tamayo .

In 1861, just thirty years after Ecuador had declared its independence from Gran Columbia, the territory called the Oriente was designated after Ecuador and Peru signed a treaty defining each other’s borders. In 1941, Peru grew ambitious and invaded Ecuador occupying more than half of its territory in the eastern Amazon basin in a 10 day war. A treaty was negotiated in favor of Peru a year later. The U.S., Brazil, Chile, and Argentina agreed to act as guarantors of the peace treaty. The U.S. Air Force completed mapping and marking most of the borders of the Oriente by 1947. But because of the hope of finding gold, uranium, and oil, there was no resolution in Ecuador’s mind and in 1995, war flared up again between the two countries. It was not until the 1998 that Ecuador finally acquiesced and allowed Peru to keep the territory–putting to end one of the longest territorial disputes in the western hemisphere.

Even until the 1960s, most people, save for a sprinkling of missionaries and pioneers, kept away, leaving the forests and its inhabitants well alone. This all changed in the late 1960s following the discovery of large oil and gas reserves, now the country’s most important source of wealth. The Oriente was divided into 200-square-kilometre bloques (blocks) and distributed between the companies, who proceeded to drill and blast in search of black gold. Roads were laid, towns sprouted virtually overnight and large areas of rainforest were cleared. The Oriente was transformed into a “productive” region and colonists streamed in on the new roads, looking for jobs and levelling still more land for farms.

But it was in the 1990’s that yet a new “gold” was discovered in the Oriente: whitewater rivers and the promise of tourism. Already a paradise in its untouched, cloud forest/rain forest setting, tourism in the Oriente still mainly consisted of adventurous souls looking to explore Ecuador’s Amazon area with trips to such jungle retreats as Cuyabeno. The majority of Ecuadorians still shuddered at the thought of traveling to the Oriente–for fear of wild indians, giant snakes and unpaved roads. But the discovery of Ecuador’s whitewater treasure brought a whole new type of traveler into the tourism mix: kayakers and rafters.

Zamora-Chinchipe

The southernmost province in El Oriente, Zamora Chinchipe is the mining centre of Ecuador, with gold mines at Nambija, Chinapinza, and Guayzimi. The provincial capital, Zamora is accessed by the road from Loja, and Podocarpus National Park in the cloud forest between Loja and Zamora is popular with hikers.

Valle de las Luciérnagas – Valley of Fireflies

The famous Yantzaza Valley or Valley of Fireflies (Spanish: Valle de Yantzaza o Valle de las Luciérnagas). The origin of its name comes from the word yanzatza in Shuar which means “valley of the fireflies,” due to the constant presence of fireflies in the area. Yantzaza is a town in that region, the Zamora Chinchipe province of Ecuador. Because of its proximity to the border with Peru, some travelers pass through the town on their journey to northern Peru.

Finca PermaTree

Now you know why we choose the amazon part of Ecuador for our project finca PermaTree.