Attracting native wildlife to green roofs and walls at the Adelaide Zoo
One of the green roofs at Adelaide Zoo soon after it was planted
Do green roofs attract and protect native wildlife?
Green roofs and walls are becoming increasingly popular for their ability to insulate buildings and for their attractiveness.
Adelaide Zoo owns the majority of green roofs in the Adelaide region and provides a unique opportunity to examine ways to attract and protect desirable native wildlife and develop best-practice guidelines for biodiversity enhancement via green buildings in the region.
Some of the green roofs are also used as education spaces
Alison Fairlamb (undergraduate)
Jodie Walsh (undergraduate)
Hannah Spronk (undergraduate)
Shane Kakko (undergraduate)
Helen Waudby (PhD candidate)
Dr. Topa Petit
Green roofs might increase the habitat for some animals such as insects, reptiles, and birds
The city can be a difficult place for wildlife. Buildings and roads don’t provide very good habitat for most species. But some buildings are becoming more eco-friendly by having green roofs.
A green roof is a roof that has been specially designed to have plants growing on it. This could be anything from grass and small plants right up to trees. Green roofs can therefore increase the amount of plant life in a city. This can increase the amount of habitat in the city for some species, such as insects, small reptiles and birds.
More and more companies and people want to be environmentally friendly, and one way people can do this is by having a green roof on their building. This means more green roofs are being built all the time. But at the moment not much is known about which sorts of green roofs are best for wildlife, and how they can attract more native wildlife.
Adelaide Zoo has most of the green roofs in South Australia and therefore is the ideal place to look at how useful green roofs are for native wildlife.
Adelaide Zoo also has some green walls
PROJECT AIMS AND TECHNIQUES
This project aims to evaluate methods to attract and protect desirable wildlife to green roofs and walls, in line with the biodiversity objectives of the city, state, and federal governments.
The project is divided into four subsections, each assigned to a different student. Underlying objectives include understanding of vegetation, soil, and educational requirements. We will monitor water use in relation to climatic factors and plant phenology and survival. Educational potential will be examined in relation to each project section.
- Identification of invertebrate biodiversity on green roofs and walls using micropitfall traps, nets, and malaise traps (surveys will take place on and around target locations, and before and after vegetation is installed on the new green roof). Recommendations for habitat designed to attract desirable species. Surveys will be repeated at different seasons.
- Investigation of bat biodiversity (using literature and bat detectors) and the possibility to attract rare bats successfully to the zoo, using green roofs, green walls, and artificial roosts.
- Investigation of bird biodiversity (using literature and surveys available), identification of desirable and overabundant species, and habitat requirements to improve balance of species.
- Identification of potential for green roofs and walls as reptile (skinks, geckos) habitats, using literature and possible translocation trials at small scale within the zoo.
Three-dimensional corridors to link roofs and ground will also be investigated (role of trees and other ground vegetation, possible structures that may facilitate movement between roof and ground).
- Green roofs or Sod Roofs in Northern Scandinavia have been around for centuries
- Modern green roofs were developed in Germany in the 1960s
- As well as possibly helping the environment by providing habitat for city animals, they might also benefit humans by
- Insulating buildings
- Increasing the lifespan of a roof
- Reducing storm water run off
- Filtering pollutants out of the atmosphere