Baseline biodiversity measures for vegetative roofs

First Author's Department

Landscape architecture

Second Author's Department

College of Architecture and Environmental Design

Third Author's Department

Department of Biological Sciences

Fourth Author's Department

Wetland Ecology

Fifth Author's Department

Department of biological sciences



Document Type



Vegetative roofs can be designed to extend local habitat or replace, in part, the functionality of regional plant and wildlife communities lost in urban development. In creating living architecture habitat, it is important to understand the characteristics that are transferable from the local ecosystems to a roof environment. Commonly referred to as a ‘habitat template’ approach (Lundholm, 2006), roof systems can be designed as speculative habitat which incorporates local ecological wildlife community insight and biodiversity provisioning. To improve the understanding of speculative roof habitat, we investigate novel ecosystems and system attributes (soils, plants, and insect species) in Northeastern Ohio, USA. Novel ecosystems harbor species compositions and relative abundances that have not previously occurred in a given biome (Hobbs, 2006). New and unique species combinations arise frequently in impacted habitats that possess both historic and uncommon associations which refer to as ‘eco-types’ for this study’s descriptive purpose. We use our observations for informing a design process conducted in partnership with the Cleveland Metro Parks, and highlight the importance of partnerships between institutional and public organizations. Reported here are the locations and primary descriptions of 5 eco-types across 19 sites in the Cleveland, Ohio area.