Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 16, 2023

China battles alien marsh grass at unprecedented scale

Science  reports

Along its 18,000 kilometers of coastline, China has been taken over by a green invader. Smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) grows tall and thick across tidal mudflats, depriving endangered migratory birds of habitat, clogging shipping channels, and ruining clam farms. Now, China aims to beat back 90% of the weed by 2025. “This is a mammoth undertaking,” says Steven Pennings, a coastal ecologist at the University of Houston. “It’s audacious.”

The nationwide effort, launched last month, “is by far the largest action plan for wetland invasive species control in China and even in the world,” says Bo Li, an invasion ecologist at Fudan and Yunnan universities who was not involved in creating the plan. It won’t be simple or cheap, costing hundreds of millions of dollars, Li estimates. And schemes to dig up, drown, or poison the weed all have side effects. “It’s going to be really difficult,” says Sam Reynolds, a biologist at the University of Cambridge.

Read more at China battles alien marsh grass at unprecedented scale | Science | AAAS

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