ELY Centre in Southwest Finland and Baltic Sea Action Group’s Järki project have started a project to enhance Common Reed (Phragmites australis) harvest and reed biomass utilisation. The purpose of this triennial project is to make utilisation a solution for overgrowth of Common Reed, which is threatening coastal areas. The project provides new information on reed harvest and usage of reed biomass as green manure and soil conditioner.
Eutrophication of water bodies and coasts disturbs recreational use and threatens biodiversity in the Baltic Sea region. Due to eutrophication especially Common Reed has grew in number and covered hundreds of hectares of coastal areas. “The overgrowth of common reed is one of the severest threats to Finnish coasts, because reed growths destroy habitats of species that need open coastal areas”, says project coordinator Maria Yli-Renko from ELY Centre in Southwest Finland.
Promotion of reed biomass utilisation is a solution for this situation. A former project of ELY Centre in Southwest Finland found out that spreading of reed biomass on fields that are near coastal areas is one of the most cost-effective ways to deal with reed growths. Reed biomass improves soil structure and soil’s ability to retain water and nutrients. At the same time nutrients are removed from the Baltic Sea and brought back to useful purpose.