The Montreal Botanical Garden recently began restoration of the Aquatic Garden which has also become the very first station on the Pathway to Phytotechnologies project. The Jardin Botanique de Montréal comprises 75 hectares of thematic gardens and greenhouses and is one of the most remarkable botanical gardens in the world. Whether you stroll through the Arboretum, explore its cultural pavilions, or participate in special activities there is something for everyone at the Montreal Botanical Garden.
However, it isn’t merely a lovely place to visit and enjoy the beauty of its vast array of plants, shrubbery, and ornamental flower beds in summer. Launched in the spring of 2017, Pathway to Phytotechnologies will eventually feature seven stations at the Botanical Garden. The project will treat runoff, reduce the parking lot heat island effect, stabilize pond banks, lessen the impact of city noise, and decontaminate soil.
“This wonderful project fits perfectly into the Ville de Montréal’s Resilient City Strategy, as well as our vision for promoting advanced technologies to solve various environmental problems faced by companies, cities, industries and even citizens,” said Laurence Lavigne Lalonde, who represents Espace pour la vie on the City of Montreal’s Executive Committee. “We are very pleased to support the one-of-a-kind expertise being developed by researchers at the Jardin botanique and the Institut de recherche en biologie végétale.”
The Grand Opening of the Filtering Marshes, the First Station of the Pathway to Phytotechnologies featured a talk by Michel Labrecque head of the Botanical Garden’s Scientific Research and Development Division to discuss scientific components of the project. Phytotechnology is an emerging field that implements solutions to scientific and engineering problems in the form of plants. “These new techniques use live plants to decontaminate the environment. Although it can take several years to get them established, phytotechnologies are less expensive than some conventional decontamination methods. They are also sustainable,” says Labreque who describes himself as “naturally curious.”
Phytotechnologies also play an important role with respect to climate change mitigation and adaptation, as plants are natural sinks for carbon dioxide. Furthermore, some phytotechnology applications involve the use of plants for housing, food, forage and sources of medicine – practical uses that create employment. Phytotechnologies represent one approach in a necessarily broader strategy to address environmental problems. This is surely welcome news for many people concerned about climate change who often don’t see a path forward to meet growing environmental challenges and feel that as a society we just aren’t doing enough.
Pierre B. Meunier, President, and Chairman of the Space for Life Foundation thanked corporate sponsors RBC Royal Bank and the Quebec Mining Association for their generous contribution of $400,000 to the Filtering Marshes station, as well as the Claudine and Stephen Bronfman Family Foundation for its investment of $500,000 in the educational component of the Pathway and toward other Espace pour la vie citizen projects. “At this time of enormous environmental challenges, support for Espace pour la vie’s research and educational activities is more important than ever,” he said.