PAMF Informational Video Series

How PAMF Works Video Series

The Phragmites Adaptive Management Framework (PAMF) was developed through the Great Lakes Phragmites Collaborative to change the way Phragmites management is done throughout the Great Lakes Basin and to help inform effective and efficient Phragmites management.

To find out more, view the three-part video series below that explains the background and issues that led to the creation of PAMF, what participation in the framework means, and how participant information is used to generate management guidance.

How PAMF Works

PAMF has three critical pieces: a monitoring protocol, a learning model that predicts how Phragmites will respond to different management alternatives, and a central database with an associated Web Hub where the results from all management efforts are reported.

Click here to download an audio description of the above video.

PAMF runs on an annual cycle. Managers like you can join PAMF year-round by enrolling a site on the Web Hub.  To enroll a site, establish the boundaries of your management unit and report basic site characteristics. Next, implement the standardized monitoring protocol and upload those data to the central database to determine your unit’s state of Phragmites infestation.  The predictive models will combine and analyze user-collected data and provide site-specific treatment guidance every year.  Participants implement a treatment of their choice, and the cycle repeats until Phragmites no longer grows on the site. Data provided by all of the participating land managers across the basin will fuel the adaptive management process.

The key to PAMF’s success is long-term and widespread participation by you – our partners – from around the Great Lakes basin.

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The PAMF Model

This video focuses on the machine learning model that PAMF uses to systematically learn from participant’s data and then provide site-specific management guidance in return.

Click here to download an audio description of the above video.

PAMF utilizes a computer-based, predictive model that uses your data, along with data from other participants, to learn about Phragmites management throughout the basin—what management actions were taken and how well they worked. The model is run each August after all participant data have been submitted. By combining the model’s quantitative learning regarding Phragmites management with expected costs for various management actions, the model provides site-specific management guidance that is optimized to reduce Phragmites, while minimizing management costs.

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Inspiration for PAMF

This is an introductory video for the adaptive management approach used in PAMF to address invasive Phragmites australis in the Great Lakes basin.

Video transcript and information on the U.S. Geological Survey website

From landowners to agencies, we have been fighting back against Phragmites for years, utilizing a variety of treatments options. Since the effectiveness of treatments relies heavily on-site conditions and infestation levels, the Great Lakes Phragmites Collaborative has recognized the need to facilitate a regional collective learning process which has developed into the Phragmites Adaptive Management Framework. PAMF has implemented this adaptive management framework to improve management efforts by learning and sharing what site-specific treatments have been working with managers across the basin.

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PAMF Development

Why was PAMF developed?

Invasive Phragmites affects ecosystems and communities on a binational scale. Managers throughout the U.S. and Canada have been trying to manage this aggressive invader for decades, but the process is time and resource intensive. One of the major challenges facing managers is the uncertainty in outcomes from a given management technique; the same management action applied in different locations can have different results. In addition to this uncertainty, even when managers were able to successfully manage Phragmites, they lacked a way to communicate their methods to others on a regional scale. The uncertainty surrounding management action efficacy coupled with limited knowledge sharing has resulted in a costly trialanderror approach for many mangers. To address these issues, the Great Lakes Phragmites Collaborative (GLPC) sought to design a program that would reduce uncertainty in Phragmites management by utilizing collective learning and Adaptive Management. Thus, Phragmites Adaptive Management Framework (PAMF) was formed!  

How was PAMF developed?

The GLPC facilitated the formation of the PAMF Core Science Team and the Technical Working Group (TWG). The PAMF Core Science Team consisted of staff from the Great Lakes Commission (GLC), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and University of Georgia. The TWG was composed of Phragmites experts from around the Great Lakes region and tasked with designing the PAMF programPAMF’s design drew inspiration from the successful Native Prairie Adaptive Management (NPAM) initiative, which targeted management of invasive prairie plantsSimilar to the challenges being addressed by NPAM, Phragmites management in the Great Lakes region has uncertainty in management outcomesrequires cyclical management decisions, and has a high cost of inaction. Based on these considerations, the TWG designed PAMF using an Adaptive Management approach.  

The TWG, with support from the PAMF Core Science Team, worked for over a year to design an Adaptive Management program that would help managers reduce Phragmites infestations by identifying the most effective and efficient methods for managing differing levels of Phragmites invasions. Through a series of facilitated meetings and exercises, the TWG made decisions on what management actions and combinations of those actions should be included in PAMF. Decisions were also made regarding the program timing and data requirements. A series of specialized modelers were brought on to the PAMF Core Science Team and charged with building the PAMF learning model and propagating it with the initial data that was elicited from Phragmites experts across the region. Finally, monitoring protocols were designed to be accessible to all, requiring little time and effort commitment from participants, but robust enough to yield informative data and allow the PAMF model to learn over time.  

After PAMF’s program structure was designed, the PAMF Core Science Team led the first round of participant training sessions and initial participants were enrolled into the program in the summer of 2017After a year of data collection, the PAMF model was run for the first time in August 2018. Since then, the PAMF Core Science Team has continued to make improvements to the program’s design, implementation, and modeling structure 

Adaptive Management Principles

Adaptive Management

PAMF is the first basin-wide application of adaptive management to address the issue of non-native Phragmites.  People often use the term adaptive management to refer to management that involves planning, implementing, and evaluating management activities. It also includes predictions about how a resource is expected to change in response to management efforts.  We use adaptive management when we need to make repeated management decisions over time because this gives us the opportunity to learn from our results and improve our predictive capabilities.

This definition of adaptive management is used by the U.S. Department of Interior and is based on the fundamentals of decision science where learning from management outcomes can improve management guidance over time. With the assistance of a predictive model, PAMF can scientifically learn about the response of Phragmites as the order and timing of treatment combinations change due to site conditions or management constraints. A large-scale effort like PAMF benefits from many management activities taking place around the Great Lakes basin, making the learning process quicker and more efficient. This means that treatment guidance is constantly improving and helping us identify the most effective and efficient management.

PAMF is a new approach to managing Phragmites in the Great Lakes basin that can provide a number of benefits to land managers, researchers, and other stakeholders.

For more information:


Anyone managing non-native Phragmites in the Great Lakes basin can participate in PAMF. Click the button below to get started! 


Please contact: Samantha Tank, Great Lakes Commission at