ProjectFunctional traits of willows in phytoremediation
Faced with more than 30 000 contaminated sites in Canada, phytoremediation represents an economic and ecological technique, using plants’ capacities and microorganisms to decontaminate soils. However, one of the main challenges in phytoremediation remains to identify the best candidates to perform key remediation services (e.i. soil decontamination, metal accumulation in aboveground tissues, etc). The selection of species in phytoremediation often requires preliminary screening and field experiments, which are long, expensive and non-generalizable processes. To improve plant selection, we aim to develop a framework to predict phytoremediation services of many plant species based on their functional traits. Indeed, functional ecology approaches base on functional traits can predict other ecosystem services, such as litter decomposition or carbon sequestration. In the phytoremediation context, we aim to correlated traits to decontamination services. To do so, we explore those correlations with willows planted on contaminated soil. The first experiment on an industrial site investigated the impact of two treatments on traits and decontamination services, (1) willow diversity and (2) coppicing. The second experiment in a control-environment looked at willows traits and services when planted in a mixture of two or three species. This experiment aims to predict decontamination services of willows mixtures with the mean traits of every species present in the mixture.