The characterization of willow (Salix L.) varieties for use in ecological engineering applications: Co-ordination of structure, function and autecology
Ecological Engineering 35 (2009) 1178–1189
The rapid development of innovative and highly specialized ecotechnologies targeting site-specific prob- lems and pollutants requires precisely tailored designs. The proper selection of remedial plant genotypes that possess the correct structure and function to effectively address a specific problem is a vital step in the design of ecological engineering applications because numerous essential traits must be evalu- ated to maximize the effectiveness of each installation. Knowledge about the biology of willow species from decades of research as a perennial biomass crop has recently been applied to resolving an array of environmental and ecological problems. Here, essential characteristics of Salix varieties that are pertinent to ecological engineering are described and related to particular ecotechnologies. We identified thirty- six agronomical, physiological, and ecological attributes of willow that provide a framework for species selection and assist in the identification of site-specific functional types of willows for land reclamation, phytoremediation, bioengineering, and agroforestry.