Recent studies by the United States Geological Survey and United States Air Force have shown that phytoremediation may be a practical method for sustained, economical delivery of electron donors to subsurface soil and groundwater, which is necessary for the reductive dechlorination of halogenated hydrocarbons. The delivery of electron donors via tree root exudates has, in one field demonstration, resulted in a marked increase in natural attenuation capacity and a decrease in plume-stabilization distance.

Determining whether a site is a suitable for the development of a phytoremediation plantation requires evaluation of required site-specific conditions such as depth to groundwater, soil properties, climate, regional pathogens, and pests and matching them to an appropriate specific species of plant. Planting an unsuitable plant without determining site-specific biotic and abiotic factors can result in failure to achieve a viable plantation. This article discusses the adaptability of plants and explores steps for implementing a short-rotation woody crop phytoremediation plantation. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.