The utilisation of reed (Phragmites australis): A review
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Reed (Phragmites) is a wetland plant genus that has been utilised by man since ancient times. It is a tall, thin, highly productive grass (Poaceae) with an above-ground biomass of up to 30 t ha -1 y-1. Due to its world-wide dominance, it is often cheap and readily available as a raw material. Reed has been used for centuries as a fodder plant in summer, and the stems have traditionally been harvested in winter as a raw material for crafts and for construction materials including roofing. It became popular for pulp and paper production in the middle of the twentieth century and, in recent years, has been used in sewage water treatment and as a source of renewable energy that is unlikely to compete with food production. This article explores the global extent of reedbeds and potential yields; and catalogues historical uses of reed, forgotten applications and new opportunities for its utilisation. Quality requirements, products and related stand management (such as harvesting time) are also reviewed.