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Page updated 6.4.2023
Utilizing common reed! – New technologies and procedures of water protection

Utilizing common reed! – New technologies and procedures of water protection

The project aims to research and develop issues of the common reed (Phragmites australis) business. Difficulties in obtaining permits due to fragmented ownership, incomplete information about end users and reed occurrences, and the lack of proper harvesting equipment for large-scale removal have been identified as bottlenecks for the development of the cane business.

Another target of the project is to develop efficient production chains for the utilization of the reeds harvested during different seasons for different end uses, such as raw material for substrate instead of peat, soil improver for fields, biogas production, livestock feed and litter, construction, incineration and textile fibers.

Investigation of the use and access permissions of the beaches in the pilot areas, which have the largest occurrences of common reed in the Archipelago Sea, will be made during the project. The opportunities for coastal entrepreneurs to start commercial exploitation of reedbeds will be improved by clarifying land and water ownership rights. This will reduce the risks associated with the reed business and lower the threshold for companies to start a business and utilize the new material.

During the project, ownership and permit surveys will be done for an estimated 1,000–3,000 hectares. The project will also develop and apply a method combining remote sensing and field observations to reliably estimate the amount of common reed biomass in large areas. The project will develop and test commercialization models, identify end-users together with entrepreneurs at a practical level in pilot areas, and create new business models that would make harvesting operations continuous and regular. The models are directly applicable in other areas.

Removal of reed mass from shores will significantly improve the condition of water bodies, increase the well-being of residents, promote biodiversity, especially for birds and vertebrate species, and increase the range of fish in reedbeds. The project will carry out nature surveys of the harvesting sites before and after the implementation of the measures. Harvesting during the project will be accomplished during a season when they will not be detrimental to nature (e.g. nesting times for birds and spawning seasons for fish).

Involved in the project are Turku University of Applied Sciences, RH-Harvesting Oy, Kiteen Mato ja Multa, Meriaura Oy, Terco Engineering Oy, Paraisten Kaukolämpö Oy and Finnsementti Oy. In addition, the cities of Naantali, Kaarina, Parainen and Turku are involved too. Other financiers are water and beach area owners, and the Archipelago Sea Conservation Fund. The largest funding (50%) comes from the Ministry of the Environment program Virtaa vesistökunnostukseen.