In China, as elsewhere in the world where bamboo is cultivated, bamboo forms a very
dense root mat. Bamboo does not have a tap root like trees but has a root mass like other grasses. Bamboo is also partly deciduous with a lot of leaf and culm sheath drop and subsequent rejuvenation. Therefore the bamboo forest floor is constantly covered with a thick cover of leaf mulch which, in turn, breaks down and naturally composts the soil. During heavy rain, any run off water is quite clear and clean, even on steep mountainsides, bearing testament to an almost complete lack of erosion. Many of the bamboo forests have been there for hundreds of years without any need to replant them as they naturally constantly regenerate themselves with new shoots every year, even with regular harvesting of mature timber.
In China the bamboo forests are largely very well managed according to a well founded agronomic practice, even those on remote mountainsides. Every year, every new culm is marked with its year of emergence so that it can subsequently be harvested in the right year to yield timber of the best possible quality.
Bamboo yarns and textiles are produced without the use of dangerous toxic chemicals and no polluting residues remain in the cloth when it finally wears out and is discarded. It comes from nature and is returned to nature in a smooth natural cycle. It has been grown and husbanded for thousands of years and can continue to be husbanded for many more thousand years without environmental degradation. This is what is meant by complete sustainability. Very few crops can make this claim.