Benefits of Phragmites
Phragmites, also called common reeds, is an exotic kind of grass that can grow to a height of 20 feet. Categorized as an invasive species, most environmental experts think that it might be unnecessarily receiving a bad repute. Even though it does compete with the native plants through occupying growing space and blocking light, phragmites help to provide erosion control. Several species even thrive in phragmites through feeding on its strong root system. More benefits are as follows.
1. Support other species
Phragmites evidently has double the accretion rate of other grass species. Actually, this exotic grass offers the benefit of keeping up with the rise in sea level. If the sea level continues to rise, then it will completely submerge marshes. However, phragmites has the capability of keeping up with rises in sea level at twice the speed of other grass species. ‘Â Furthermore, it also helps to pump more oxygen into soil sediments.
2. Lowers aquatic habitat
Phragmites is among the most opportunistic and aggressive plants that reproduce by seeds as well as through spreading their roots. This means it can easily colonize large pieces of land. The aggressive nature of phragmites gives it the capability of changing diverse wetland systems to a usable vegetative monoculture. As phragmites work to change the floral make up of marshes, the faunal component is also effectively changed. Hence, phragmites invasion are normally linked to physical adjustments to a wetlands system through tidal inundation, filling and dredging. This provides a beneficial nutrient exchange to estuaries that surround wetlands.
3. Control soil erosion
Phragmites also assists in controlling soil erosion around the shores. It filters soil sediments and improves the quality of water. Besides acting as natural erosion control, phragmites is also a minor source of food for certain mammals, invertebrates and foraging fish.
Consequently, before any attempts to control phragmites are taken, it is important that these benefits be considered.