Elevated enclaves – Living roof biodiversity enhancement through prosthetic habitats
Davies, Renee; Simcock, Robyn; Ussher, Graham; Toft, Richard; Boult, Martin; deGroot, Cris
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Citation:Davies, R., Simcock, R., Ussher, R., deGroot, C., Boult, M., & Toft R. (2010, November/December). Elevated enclaves – Living roof biodiversity enhancement through prosthetic habitats. Paper presented at CitiesAlive: 8th Annual Green Roof and Wall Conference, Vancouver.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/1678
Living roofs offer an opportunity to bring conservation into a contemporary context integrated within urban landscapes. Once neglected and under-utilized roof landscapes can now become biodiverse enclaves of indigenous flora and fauna. The microhabitat variables required for lizards, including temperature, humidity, refuge/shelter and prey, on New Zealand’s first fully indigenous (a plant or animal which occurs naturally in NZ) (Department of Conservation 2000) (4) extensive living roof were studied over three years. Temperature and humidity data from a known lizard site was used to assess the suitability of the living roof in conjunction with a comparison of insects monitored on the living roof and a literature review of lizard diet. This data provided a team of ecologists, landscape architects and product designers with the parameters needed to develop, prototype and field-test a prosthetic habitat that provides enhanced conditions on the living roof for lizards. Results indicate a New Zealand indigenous extensive living roof plant community can provide the basic microhabitat variables required to support lizards with the exception of humidity. Although existing vegetation will provide refuge from predators and modifies temperature and humidity, the designed prosthetic habitat creates humid micro-sites (refuges), allowing a trial translocation of native skinks.