Sarah Doerksen (Animator), Amanda Hope (Narrator), 2011. Video (5:31)

This video was produced by two Red River College interns, Sarah Doerksen (Animator) and Amanda Hope (Narrator)—hosted by IISD in February and March, 2011—based on work by Richard Grosshans, Dimple Roy, Karla Zubrycki, Henry David Venema.

This video uses animation, photos and text to provide a step-by-step description of cattail harvesting at Netley–Libau Marsh, a coastal wetland at the southern end of Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba. The research taking place at Netley–Libau Marsh by the IISD and its partners, the University of Manitoba and Ducks Unlimited Canada, has proven that cattails, a common plant that grows throughout the marsh, can be successfully harvested to produce bioenergy in the form of pellets, cubes or logs.

Five benefits from cattail harvesting are identified:

  1. The phosphorus stored in the harvested cattails is prevented from entering Lake Winnipeg and contributing to eutrophication.
  2. The harvested cattails can be burned as a renewable bioenergy source.
  3. The cattail bioenergy displaces the use of coal, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions and also producing the possibility for carbon credits.
  4. The remaining ash, which still contains high amounts of phosphorus, can be collected and recycled as fertilizer.
  5. The entire habitat of Netley–Libau Marsh can be improved by the harvesting process, as it opens the area to sunlight and allows new cattails to grow.

The video describes an innovative approach towards wetland restoration, nutrient capture, and reduction of CO2 emissions in an emerging Manitoba Bioeconomy.

About the International Institute for Sustainable Development 

The world is challenged by a changing climate, biodiversity loss, abject poverty and environmental degradation. What can make a difference? Good ideas. Creativity. Passion. Innovation. The achievement of change. 

IISD is in the business of promoting change towards sustainable development. As a policy research institute dedicated to effective communication of our findings, we engage decision-makers in government, business, NGOs and other sectors in the development and implementation of policies that are simultaneously beneficial to the global economy, the global environment and to social well-being. 

In the pursuit of sustainable development, we promote open and effective international negotiation processes. And we believe fervently in the importance of building our own institutional capacity while helping our partner organizations in the developing world to excel. 

Established in 1990, IISD is a Canadian-based not-for-profit organization with a diverse team of more than 150 people located in more than 30 countries. Through our dynamic portfolio of projects, we partner with more than 200 organizations throughout the world. To learn more about our history, please visit the IISD Timeline. 

Click here to learn more about our project work and programs, which are guided by our strategic institutional directions. And please visit our IISD Linkages site to follow our coverage of international negotiations on environment and development. 

IISD is registered as a charitable organization in Canada and has 501(c)(3) status in the United States. IISD receives core operating support from the Government of Canada, provided through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and Environment Canada, and from the Province of Manitoba. The Institute receives project funding from numerous governments inside and outside Canada, United Nations agencies, foundations and the private sector.