In the world's tropical and subtropical regions one of the most important plant material of all is bamboo. Bamboo may be harvested from the wild or else semi-cultivated. It is very resilient, resistant and almost everlasting. Some 1250 species

and 1500 traditional applications have been identified, many ofthem within building construction (Follett, 2003). Bamboo is extensively used as a load bearing structure, roofing and flooring in the vernacular architecture of many cultures. One billion people worldwide live in bamboo houses. In many countries one now sees research projects and efforts tofind new ways to use bamboo in improved traditional construction. Thick bamboo stems naturally take quite some years to grow, so sustainability will be an issue if the local resource is over-exploited.

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