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Phytoremediation of Soils using Fast-Growing Trees in Vacant Lots and Landfills

Phytoremediation is a green technology that utilizes specialized trees to remediate contaminated soils across the rural to urban continuum. The trees stabilize pollutants in the soil, trap the contaminants in their biomass, and/or break down the pollutants into harmless forms, thus preventing movement into groundwater and nearby waterways. Ron Zalesny will highlight the science behind phytoremediation, focusing on selection of appropriate trees at landfills that are matched to specific contaminants in order to maximize site-level ecosystem services. Sam Eanes will share advances and challenges that The Greening of Detroit has experienced with using phytoremediation to clean and green vacant lots throughout the city of Detroit. Fai Foen will highlight a current research-application partnership between the USDA Forest Service and The Greening of Detroit that is being used to advance phytoremediation technologies while benefiting local communities.