Invertebrates on Green Roofs

  • J. Scott MacIvorEmail author
  • Kelly Ksiazek
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 223)


Insects and other invertebrates provide essential ecosystem functions in designed habitats including green roofs. Services offered by invertebrates in these novel environments include pollination for plant reproduction and yield in cultivated crops, pest control to reduce damage to green roof vegetation, decomposition to retain organic matter and cycle nutrients in the substrate, and contribution to food webs for species like birds that frequent green roofs.

Although we may assume that beneficial invertebrates are desirable on green roofs, it is not clear whether they adequately provide habitat or not. Green roof design can vary, as can their suitability as habitat, some supporting almost no species and others meeting both the foraging and nesting requirements of many. When designers include plant, substrate and other microhabitat conditions to support certain at-risk species or functionally important groups, green roofs may act as analog habitat where it is limited at ground level. Green roofs are uniquely isolated and exposed to sun and wind and their relative value will ultimately depend on the invertebrates in question. If green roofs are to support invertebrate communities, elucidating habitat requirements and monitoring wildlife design successes are as essential as public outreach that encourages urban biodiversity conservation.


Insect ecology Pollination Soil stabilization Pest control Plant-insect interactions Arthropods Ecosystem services Urban ecology 


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biology DepartmentYork UniversityTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Plant Biology Chicago Botanic GardenGlencoeUSA

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