A very large green roof is being designed by the firm Samoo Architects & Engineers in Seoul. This will be a massive project and the roof will be turned into a large park. This is becoming more and more common in many countries and it has fantastic possibilities for ecology such as reducing the urban heat island affect, reducing stormwater runoff and providing more open green space. Unfortunately however, many of these projects barely think about, or neglect altogether, wildlife habitat. The roof is an ideal place for many species because it’s a safe refuge from ground predators and often times, people. Many birds can nest on roofs, insects find a haven there and in some regions with a proper ‘ladder’ lizards could even find roofs a suitable habitat.
Incorporating habitat would be relatively easy to do for any of these project, even the ones like this one that are aimed at human use. With new projects it’s even easier to incorporate habitat at the early stages so that the structure of the building can sustain increased weight on the roof. There are simple ways to mix in habitat such as with native plants, flowering plants, logs, branches and even mounding topography.
Roofs provide very valuable real estate to the ecology of an area. Most existing habitat is severely fragmented into a piece here or there. Green roofs can provide stepping stones, habitat steps in between larger areas. Provided in a pattern they could even provide a type of movement corridor for certain species to move around urban areas.
Hopefully as green roofs gain more popularity so will the idea of bringing butterflies and birds to roofs as well.
Kelly holds a bachelors degree in landscape architecture from the University of Oregon and a certificate in non-fiction writing from the University of Washington.