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United Nations Environment Programme
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Freshwater Management Series No. 7

Phytotechnologies

A Technical Approach in Environmental Management

IV. Important Considerations For The Application of Phytotechnologies >

F. Contingency Planning

One of the important considerations in applying the phytotechnology system is the need to prepare a contingency plan in case the intended phytotechnology application does not meet environmental goals. The plan should cover a wide range of possible failure mechanisms (drought, floods, disease, animals). It may take several years of monitoring to determine that the phytotechnology is not meeting performance expectations. Each contingency plan will be site-specific, depending upon numerous factors, including:

Regulatory requirements,
Funding,
Type of phytotechnology application,
Site environmental conditions (growing season, amount of rain, etc.),
Time required to meet specified environmental objectives.

If the phytotechnology application is not achieving the expected goals, the site owner, regulator and stakeholders should consider implementation of the contingency plan.

G. Expertise

Two people talking

The development and implementation of phytotechnologies requires a multi-disciplinary team. The team should include personnel with expertise and experience in the following disciplines:

  Soil Scientist/ Agronomist – to evaluate the ability of the soil conditions to support plants that can function in a manner which will address objectives and expectations,
  Plant Biologist/Botanist – to evaluate the range of plants that might be applicable and to conduct greenhouse tests using soil and water samples from the site to ensure the plants will grow successfully,
  Hydrologist – to undertake groundwater modelling, including modelling on the fate and transport of any contaminants of concern,
  Regulatory Specialist – to determine the requirements for sampling, analysis, maintenance and monitoring,
  Environmental Engineer – to undertake the overall phytotechnology system design and to ensure all project costs are captured,
  Risk Assessor/ Toxicologist – to evaluate the risk of the proposed phytotechnology application in relation to alternatives,
  Ecologist/Ecosystem Modeller – to ascertain the relationships between the plants and their environment as well as the ecosystem itself in order to forecast changes in ecosystems and related processes.
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