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A BOOK OF REED. 2010. (Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex Steudel, Phragmites communis Trin.)


The numbers and volume of publications on Phragmites australis are still small enough for it to be possible to write The Book of Reed. However, prospective buyers are too few to justify that publication, so this, perhaps half-sized, is A Book of Reed. I do therefore apologise to those whose work is omitted or barely referred to. Some cover the same ground (mostly referred to by name), some add to knowledge in different places, without adding to general behaviour, some (especially Aquatic Botany volumes) describe what will be the understanding of how chemical processes determine behaviour, but is not yet that far on, and others: well, I am sorry, they just did not fit how the script developed. (Some are in the Bibliography.)
This book is the result of a long career in which reed research varied from negligible to full-time.
There is a great deal of talk about the importance and value of wetlands. Largely prompted by EU Directives, some rehabilitation, creation or conservation is being done.
But without serious and long-term research, how can this be done properly? And how can further understanding be gained? Is this book authoritative for a century?
Can I appeal to Universities and research organisations to appoint either an aquatic or a wetland ecologist each? With a preponderance of botanists, since if the vegetation is right, and disturbance low, the proper fauna generally follow: while the reverse does not apply. (In rivers, invertebrate specialists are also needed, for pollution monitoring, and everywhere animals do need research. But these are both for zoologists, not ecologists.


Chapter 1.         Introduction
Chapter 2.         Seeds and young plants
Chapter 3.         Plant pattern and growth
Chapter 4.         The reedbed itself
Chapter 5.         Variation: genetic and clonal
Chapter 6.         Variation: environmental
Chapter 7.         Mixed stands competition, invasion, succession and decline
Chapter 8.         Malta: decline and endurance
Chapter 9.         Uses of reed
Chapter 10.       On the roof: thatch
Chapter 11.       Impact and distribution
Chapter 12.       Can reeds diagnose habitat?
Chapter 13.       Remarkable reeds in marvellous marshes