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Open AccessArticle

Selecting Potential Moss Species for Green Roofs in the Mediterranean Basin

Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes (cE3c), Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon, Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisbon, Portugal
MARE—Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre, Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon, Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisbon, Portugal
Ecology Unit, Department of Functional Biology, Facultade de Bioloxía, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, 15782 Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Department of Biosystems Engineering, Instituto Superior de Agronomia, University of Lisbon, Tapada da Ajuda, 1349-017 Lisbon, Portugal
Linking Landscape, Environment, Agriculture and Food (LEAF), Instituto Superior de Agronomía, University of Lisbon, Tapada de Ajuda, 1349-017 Lisbon, Portugal
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Urban Sci. 2019, 3(2), 57;
Received: 26 March 2019 / Revised: 7 May 2019 / Accepted: 23 May 2019 / Published: 26 May 2019
Green roofs are important infrastructures to address the effects of climate change in urban areas. However, most studies and applications have been done in cooler and wetter regions of the northern hemisphere. Climate change will lead to more extreme weather events, such as increased drought and decreased precipitation with intense flash rain events. Increase desertification is expected especially in the Mediterranean Basin, where in summer, radiation and temperature are high and water is scarce. Therefore, while vascular plants increase water consumption in green roofs during warmer periods, mosses present themselves as potential candidates due to their poikilohydric nature, responding to the environmental availability of water, completely drying out and recovering upon rehydration. Although criteria for the selection of vascular plants adapted to the Mediterranean and suitable for green roofs have been developed, no information is available regarding the selection of mosses based on scientific criteria. Here we propose selection criteria for moss species based on ecological preferences according to Ellenberg’s values and help to define moss traits suitable for a nonirrigated, nature-based green roof that tolerates the Mediterranean climate. The main result is a table of potential candidate mosses that can be either used as standalone or in conjunction with vascular plants to decrease water usage and/or manage stormwater through an easily applicable selection methodology. For green roof practitioners, we proposed that acrocarpous mosses exhibiting turf/cushion life forms and colonist or perennial life strategies best fit the requirements for such a green infrastructure in extreme climate regions with scarce water resources. View Full-Text
Keywords: mosses; sustainability; nature-based solutions; traits; urban ecology mosses; sustainability; nature-based solutions; traits; urban ecology
MDPI and ACS Style

Cruz de Carvalho, R.; Varela, Z.; do Paço, T.A.; Branquinho, C. Selecting Potential Moss Species for Green Roofs in the Mediterranean Basin. Urban Sci. 2019, 3, 57.

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