1 Department of Bioscience, Science and Technology, Aarhus University2 Department of Bioscience - Aquatic Biology, Department of Bioscience, Science and Technology, Aarhus University3 Key Laboratory of Coastal Wetland Biogeosciences, China Geological Survey, Key Laboratory of Marine Hydrocarbon Resources and Environmental Geology，MLR, Qingdao Institute of Marine Geology, CGS, Ministry of Land and Resources, Qingdao 2660714 Louisiana State University, School of the Coast and Environment, Department of Environmental Sciences, Baton Rouge, LA, 70803-4110, USA5 unknown6 Department of Bioscience, Science and Technology, Aarhus University
The largest Phragmites reed field in the world, with a historical area of approximately 1000 km2, is located in the Liaohe Delta in northeastern China. The Phragmites wetlands are extensively managed to maximize the production of reed biomass for the paper industry. Based on satellite remote sensing we estimated that the total area of the Phragmites wetlands has decreased from 857 km2 in 2003 to 786 km2 in 2009 to accommodate oil field infrastructure and societal developments. However, at the same time the production of Phragmites biomass used for the production of reed pulp has increased to 400,000 metric tons per year. This paper describes the great efforts that have been made to increase the Phragmites yields for the paper industry, including (1) diversion of freshwater from rivers to the Phragmites fields, (2) management of the water table, (3) harvesting and burning for pest control, and (4) seawater irrigation to rehabilitate Phragmites fields infested with weeds. The paper industry has facilitated the conservation of the Phragmites wetlands and their associated ecosystem services. Besides being a source for fiber, the wetlands provide important habitat for wildlife, sequester carbon, and create job opportunities and economic income for the local people.