Four Approaches to Making Living Roofs With Native Plants Webpage uri icon


  • When Europeans first explored North America, they found a continent that was populated with First-Nations peoples, and the amazing landscapes that they sustained. In the mid-continent was an immense sea of grass, which was one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the world. Native Americans were the first stewards of the North American central prairies and it was the epicenter of their culture from generation to generation for more than 5000 years (Denevan 1992)! While the east coast of North America was largely vegetated with forests, the central, southern, and western regions were dominated by surface-fire grass-based ecosystems such as prairies, meadows, glades, barrens, alvars, scrublands, chaparral, savannas, and woodlands (Ricketts, Dinerstein et al. 1999). Today, however, grass-based ecosystems are some of the most threatened ecosystems worldwide, due to human influence, and mismanagement (Samson, Knopf et al. 2004). In most states where tallgrass prairie was the dominant ecoregion, less than 1 percent of the original native tallgrass prairies and oak savannas remain, in isolated patches (Diamond, Riskind et al. 1987, Packard and Mutel 1997). Today, conservation sites provide great value as outdoor classrooms where one may discover new plants to be trialed on green roofs (White 2006, Oberndorfer, Lundholm et al. 2007).

author list (cited authors)

  • Dvorak, B.

complete list of authors

  • Dvorak, Bruce

publication date

  • September 2021