The Ingenuity of Plants
In recent decades, humanity has been confronted with an enormous challenge: the state of our planet. The quality of our water, air and soil is deteriorating. The climate is changing, cities are growing and becoming denser, and biodiversity is declining. These trends are affecting our environment and our quality of life.
Fortunately, there are solutions. One of them involves plants, one of our oldest allies. Multidisciplinary scientific teams are currently working to develop a range of phytotechnologies (from the root “phyto-,” meaning “plant”). These teams are taking advantage of the astonishing abilities that plants have acquired over the course of their long evolution.
Phytotechnologies are processes or structures that leverage living plants to resolve environmental problems. Relatively simple and quite affordable, they are of interest to a wide range of users.
There’s no doubt that a real “green revolution” is under way. Join Space for Life’s movement by exploring the power of plants to resolve environmental problems.
In short, phytotechnologies:
- can be adapted to a wide array of sites and climates;
- are consistent with sustainable development principles and use renewable resources;
- help maintain biodiversity, naturalize our urban areas and beautify our landscapes;
- often cost less than conventional techniques;
- can generate revenue;
- enjoy significant social acceptability among the general public.
Each technology is suited to a specific issue. To use these technologies effectively, it is important to start by determining the initiative’s target objectives.
In addition, each technology comes with specific requirements for the use of living plants in regard to maintenance, climate impact, growth time and plant action.
The use of phytotechnologies is still in its infancy in Quebec. But the scientific expertise developed in the province is considerable, and intensive research is constantly improving their efficacy in our environment.
If you are planning a phytotechnology project, we recommend that you consult specialized companies in the field. These experts will be able to help you determine the types of plants and structures best suited to your project, as well as the time and investment required. You can find these resources in the following references and on the Internet.
Has this overview of phytotechnologies piqued your interest? There are a number of resources at your disposal if you want to learn more.
- Montréal Space for Life has started work on an extensive Pathway to Phytotechnology at the Botanical Garden, with development continuing until 2023. It will comprise seven stations illustrating innovative approaches to decontaminating air, soil, water and noise. The Space for Life Foundation and the City of Montréal are working together to fund the new Pathway.
- The website of the Société québécoise de phytotechnologie provides a wealth of concrete information on many of the techniques described here. See http://www.phytotechno.com/.
Cutting-edge research is presented on the websites of the Phytotechnology NSERC/Hydro-Québec Industrial Research Chair and the Institut de recherche en biologie végétale, located at the Montréal Botanical Garden. See http://chairephytotechnologie.com/ and http://www.irbv.umontreal.ca/.