Anthropogenic activity has resulted in the degradation of nearly a billion hectares of land globally either as a result of agricultural or industrial activities. This is causing the decline in many ecosystem services worldwide and is now threatening livelihoods and resulting in socioeconomic instability. Consequently, society needs to find cost-effective, socially-acceptable, and practical ways to remediate this land to restore ecosystem functioning. In this context, this article presents evidence to show how a diverse range of plants may be employed to promote ecosystem recovery. This typically involves the use of plants to remove or stabilize pollutants (e.g., heavy metals, organic chemicals, invasive weeds, microbiological contaminants) and improve various chemical, biological, and physical aspects of the soil. In addition, successful remediation relies on the correct choice of plants for the site and effective management during site restoration. Restoration schemes that are sustainable in the long term frequently use plants that both promote and accelerate natural succession processes.
|Title of host publication||Encyclopedia of Applied Plant Sciences|
|Subtitle of host publication||Crop Systems|
|Number of pages||7|
|Publication status||Published - 27 Aug 2016|