Bamboo, which is actually considered a grass instead of a tree, grows much more quickly than most types of hardwood. Usually the bamboo is harvested between three and six years. Compare that to hardwood trees which can take anywhere from 40 years to 120 years to mature. That's a big difference obviously and is the main reason it is considered such a good Eco friendly option to hardwood.
Another reason bamboo is liked by environmentalists is because the bamboo requires very little pesticides and fertilizers. Pesticides and fertilizers can pollute the land and waters where the forests are managed. However, the manufacturing process of bamboo flooring can result in byproducts being dumped into local rivers and streams. So, it's very important to make sure you are buying bamboo from a reputable manufacturer. Two of the top manufacturers are Teragren and Ecotimber.
One of the problems with bamboo flooring is that the product comes from countries where there isn't much regulation. Again, this is why you want to look for well known and respected brands. Another thing to check for is whether the product passes the standards set by the Federal Stewardship Council, or FSC for short. The organization certifies forest management.
Look for bamboo that is older than just a year or two. The best bamboo will be harvested every five or six years or longer, which makes for a better product because it will be more durable, hard and dense.
A positive aspect of bamboo is the fact that it does better is areas that are exposed to water, whereas hardwood flooring does not do well when exposed to water. Also, the better quality bamboo is harder than many hardwoods, is stain and scratch resistant. Because bamboo is water and stain resistant, the floors are easier to maintain and clean. Using a wet mop on a bamboo floor is OK, while it is not with most hardwood floors.
One of the cons of bamboo is that there are basically only two types of colors: a natural light yellow hue and a darker caramelized tone called amber. However, it is possible to stain the natural planks with many different colors.
Make sure you have an experienced floor installer to handle your job if you choose to use bamboo as sometimes floating a bamboo floor can be difficult. Overall though, installing isn't a problem and will make you happy to use a product which isn't hurting the environment.