Skip to main content
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Vegetated roofs in boreal climate support mobile open habitat arthropods, with differentiation between meadow and succulent roofs

Kyro, Kukka; Kotze, D. Johan; Mullner, Malgorzata Anna; Hakala, Sanja; Kondorosy, Elod; Pajunen, Timo; Vilisics, Ferenc; Lehvavirta, Susanna


Vegetated roofs are hoped to benefit urban wildlife, yet there are few empirical results regarding the conservation potential of such roofs. In this paper, we focus on arthropods on vegetated roofs. We vacuum sampled 17 succulent, meadow or succulent-meadow roofs, in Helsinki, Finland, and used order to species level information together with trait data to describe the communities. We evaluated the importance of biophysical roof characteristics on shaping arthropod assemblages to provide information concerning roof designs that promote rich arthropod fauna. Arthropod communities differed between the three roof types and the influence of roof variables varied between and within arthropod orders. The main local drivers of arthropod abundance across the individually analysed taxa were roof height and vegetation, with mainly positive effects of height (up to 11 m) and litter cover, and mainly negative effects of grass cover. Based on trait data from true bugs, spiders and ants, the roofs consisted mainly of common dispersive species that are generalist feeders and associated with dry open habitats or have wide habitat tolerance. We found one true bug species new to the country and assume that it arrived with imported vegetation. Based on these findings, vegetated roofs of varying height and size benefit common generalists and fauna of open dry habitats, but seem to lack rare native specialists and may introduce non-natives if imported plant material is used. Because the responses to vegetation characteristics are taxon-specific, high diversity of roof vegetation types would benefit arthropod conservation.


Arthropods; Insects; Functional traits; Green roof; Nature-based solutions; Urban ecology

Published in

Urban Ecosystems
2020, volume: 23, number: 6, pages: 1239-1252
Publisher: SPRINGER

Authors' information

Kyro, Kukka
Univ Helsinki
Kotze, D. Johan
Univ Helsinki
Mullner, Malgorzata Anna
Univ Helsinki
Hakala, Sanja
Univ Helsinki
Kondorosy, Elod
Univ Pannonia
Pajunen, Timo
Univ Helsinki
Vilisics, Ferenc
No organisation
Lehvävirta, Susanna
University of Helsinki
Lehvävirta, Susanna
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Landscape Architecture, Planning and Management

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG11 Sustainable cities and communities

UKÄ Subject classification

Landscape Architecture
Environmental Sciences

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)