Biochar source material matters
Joerg Werdin and colleagues tested the wood of 18 eucalyptus species and found that biochar made from lower density wood was better at storing water and making it available for plants, with implications for the use of biochar as a substrate additive.
Werdin J, Fletcher T, Rayner J, Williams N and Farrell C (2020) Biochar made from low density wood has greater plant available water than biochar made from high density wood. Science of The Total Environment 705. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.135856
What drives green roof invertebrate communities?
Jacinda’s research shows that invertebrate communities of green roofs in Melbourne are driven largely by their surrounding environment rather than the plants they contain. Consequently, the effectiveness of green roofs as invertebrate habitat is highly dependent on location and their horizontal and vertical connection to ground-level habitats.
Dromgold J, Threlfall C, Norton B and Williams N (2020) Green roof and ground-level invertebrate communities are similar and are driven by building height and landscape context. Journal of Urban Ecology 6(1). doi: 10.1093/jue/juz024
Sustainable green roof substrates
Organic waste can lighten green roof substrates, increase water retention, and improve sustainability. This study showed that the addition of coir and compost improved substrates but nut shells adversely affected plant growth, likely due to phenolic compounds.
Xue M and Farrell C (2020) Use of organic wastes to create lightweight green roof substrates with increased plant-available water. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening 48. doi: 10.1016/j.ufug.2019.126569
Assessing green roof substrates
A standard international approach to testing green roof substrates properties is a recommendation of this comparative study of different Australian and overseas methods.
Conn R, Werdin J, Rayner J and Farrell C. (2020) Green roof substrate physical properties differ between standard laboratory tests due to differences in compaction. Journal of Environmental Management 261. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2020.110206