Tuesday, November 2, 2010

3 Reasons Why Native Plant Species on Green Roofs Promote Biodiversity in the Urban Core

The green roof industry must take the initiative to start using native plant species on Florida Green Roofs.

To ignore the call of local, state and national environmental and ecological groups calling for a stop to using vast amounts of imported landscape material is rapidly becoming an outmoded business principle.

As green roofs become more and more popular, we as an industry must learn to adapt to using indigenous plant species for a number of reasons.

* Native species are more likely to survive local environmental conditions.
* Native plant species on green roofs attract a greater degree of indigenous wildlife, promoting biodiversity.
* We have all seen what exotic invasive plant species can do to Florida's ecosystems.  Even regular landscape plants have had devestating effects with respect to monoculture activity, and
* Ecology conscious businesses are now demanding native plant species to be used in their green roof and living wall projects.

In the rush to flood the potentially lucrative Green Roof Florida market with all the different types of Green Roof systems and their plants, we must be careful we do not create an ecological problem with imported plants.

Some of the Green Roof plants that thrive in other locations, may - if imported from other states - bring with them diseases, pests and fungi.  Others may be so aggressive with respect to reproduction that they may turn into another Brazilian Pepper or Chinese Tallow.

Stick with Florida Natives on your Green Roof.

Talk to your local chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society - see their website here.

I've uploaded a very interesting paper entitled "Impact of Native Plants on Bird and Butterfly Biodiversity in Suburban Landscapes" to Google Docs for your reference.

Click here for the download.

The Note suggests that a broader range of biodiversity will exist with respect to butterflies, moths and birds when native plants are used in the Urban Core for landscaping instead of common landscape plants.

The importance for the Green Roof Industry is - roof horticulture is non-exempt from good environmental stewardship.

We must all move from exotic and potentially invasive landscape plants and back to those native species that promote biodiversity.

As always, email us with your questions.

Happy Green Roofing!

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