Bamboos (Poaceae: Bambusoideae) have posed a serious threat to native ecosystems, though they play an important role socially and economically. Here we review recent research progresses on bamboo expansion with emphasis on process, consequence and mechanism. Based on the review it is considered that (1) the bamboo expansion process can be divided into four stages including underground extension, aboveground sprouting, exclusive competition, and absolute dominance; (2) Bamboo expansion will likely lead to drastic shifts in community structure and composition, biodiversity, soil properties (physical, chemical and microbial), ecological processes and functions, and local landscape; and (3) bamboos, with many inherent superiorities of rapid growth, clonal reproduction, phenotypic plasticity and collaboration, could gradually invade into adjacent communities especially derived forests, by means of shading, physical damage, litterfall, nutrient competition and allelopathy. Disturbances to neighboring communities are likely to facilitate bamboo expansion. Therefore, bamboo expansion is a typical example of local biological invasion brought about by interactions among inherent superiority, resource opportunity and disturbance by human or nature (wind, snow-ice, etc.). At a time of rapid global changes, we are confronted with new challenges from biological invasion. We recommend that priorities for future studies should be directed at understanding the responses and adaptions of bamboo to global environmental changes, bamboo-broadleaved/coniferous forest interface characteristics, bamboo expansion process and pattern, ecological risk evaluation, management and control strategies of bamboo expansion, and proper utilization of bamboo resources. This overview suggests that more attentions should be paid to native invasive species aside from alien species.