The potential for mycorrhizae to improve green roof function

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John, Jesse
Kernaghan, Gavin
Lundholm, Jeremy
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Urban Ecosystems (Springer)
The selection of plant species for use on green roofs has been based primarily on their ability to cope with the harsh climatic conditions of the urban rooftop environment. However, green roof plants must also survive in engineered substrates that often lack organic material and beneficial soil microorganisms such as mycorrhizal fungi. We review the literature on mycorrhizae in the context of green roof ecosystems, identifying aspects of green roof functioning that could be enhanced through the integration of mycorrhizal fungi. Although relatively few studies have addressed the influence of mycorrhizal symbiosis on green roof plants specifically, we include information from a variety of naturally occurring habitats with analogous growing conditions. The available literature suggests that the incorporation of mycorrhizal fungi can improve a number of green roof functional attributes, including plant diversity, drought resilience, leachate quality, nutrient use efficiency and carbon sequestration, all while reducing the need for external nutrient inputs. We present evidence that mycorrhizal fungi are of general benefit to green roof ecosystems, and can be effectively integrated into green roof design. We recommend methods for this integration and propose future research directions.
Ecosystem function , Soil amendment , Nutrient uptake , Soil organic matter , Microbial ecology , Rhizosphere
John, J., Kernaghan, G. and Lundholm, J. 2017. The potential for mycorrhizae to improve green rooffunction. Urban Ecosystems 20: 113-127.