Poplar remediation systems are ideal for reducing runoff, cleaning groundwater, and delivering ecosystem services to the North American Great Lakes and globally. We used phytorecurrent selection (PRS) to establish sixteen phytoremediation buffer systems (phyto buffers) (buffer groups: 2017 × 6; 2018 × 5; 2019 × 5) throughout the Lake Superior and Lake Michigan watersheds comprised of twelve PRS-selected clones each year. We tested for differences in genotypes, environments, and their interactions for health, height, diameter, and volume from ages one to four years. All trees had optimal health. Mean first-, second-, and third-year volume ranged from 71 ± 26 to 132 ± 39 cm3; 1440 ± 575 to 5765 ± 1132 cm3; and 8826 ± 2646 to 10,530 ± 2110 cm3, respectively. Fourth-year mean annual increment of 2017 buffer group trees ranged from 1.1 ± 0.7 to 7.8 ± 0.5 Mg ha−1 yr−1 . We identified generalist varieties with superior establishment across a broad range of buffers (‘DM114’, ‘NC14106’, ‘99038022’, ‘99059016’) and specialist clones uniquely adapted to local soil and climate conditions (‘7300502’, ‘DN5’, ‘DN34’, ‘DN177’, ‘NM2’, ‘NM5’, ‘NM6’). Using generalists and specialists enhances the potential for phytoremediation best management practices that are geographically robust, being regionally designed yet globally relevant.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering


This work was funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI; Template #738 Landfill Runoff Reduction).

Keywords and Phrases

Ecosystem services; Multi-environmental trials (MET); Phenotypic plasticity; Phyto buffers; Phyto-recurrent selection; Phytotechnologies; Poplars; Populus

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Article - Journal

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Final Version

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© 2021 The Authors, All rights reserved.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Publication Date

02 Apr 2021