Arundo Donax, or Giant Reed, is a tall grass-like perennial plant that grows in near water flows like river banks. Due to its high growing potential, arriving to one meter of growth per month in favorable conditions, it is catalogued as an invasive plant because it displaces native river flora. Furthermore, its dense stems agglomerations, growing from underground rhizomatic clusters, provide little opportunities for endemic fauna to nest.
"La caña común" was introduced in Spain by the muslim approximately during the 13th century because of its potential uses in construction and agriculture. It was highly encouraged by the public authorities to grow reeds by the orchard, and nowadays is still common to see a cluster of reeds next to irrigation channels. However, the giant reed has taken over complete river beds in the Mediterranean region, due to its little trimming because of its substitution by industrial materials.
The last decades, the local environmental authorities have been implementing aggressive removal treatments with backhoes and heavy machinery that not only destroy the soil bed, but completely landform the river bank under certain conservation standards. After the removal works, black plastic geotextiles are applied to the ground surface to stop the photosynthetic process of the rhyzome. These expensive methods have to be implemented from top to bottom of the river, ensuring coordination between all the public territory and funds touched by the watershed.
However, what picture of the river bed is intended to be shaped? What is the river landscape that is thought to be benefitial and why? Is a disruptive large-scale human intervention the solution? Although I haven't arrived to a concrete proposal, I would like to experiment with alive-reed guidance, exploring its architectural and habitat-building potential while the plant is living, research that can be carried on paralelly to the removal activities in critical areas.