Sant'Ambrogio di Torino, Italy
Sant'Ambrogio di Torino, Italy

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Savi T.,University of Trieste | Dal Borgo A.,University of Trieste | Love V.L.,University of Trieste | Love V.L.,University of Sheffield | And 3 more authors.
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2016

Green roofs are gaining momentum in the arid and semi-arid regions due to their multiple benefits as compared with conventional roofs. One of the most critical steps in green roof installation is the selection of drought and heat tolerant species that can thrive under extreme microclimate conditions. We monitored the water status, growth and survival of 11 drought-adapted shrub species grown on shallow green roof modules (10 and 13 cm deep substrate) and analyzed traits enabling plants to cope with drought (symplastic and apoplastic resistance) and heat stress (root membrane stability). The physiological traits conferring efficiency/safety to the water transport system under severe drought influenced plant water status and represent good predictors of both plant water use and growth rates over green roofs. Moreover, our data suggest that high substrate temperature represents a stress factor affecting plant survival to a larger extent than drought per se. In fact, the major cause influencing seedling survival on shallow substrates was the species-specific root resistance to heat, a single and easy measurable trait that should be integrated into the methodological framework for screening and selection of suitable shrub species for roof greening in the Mediterranean. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.


Savi T.,University of Trieste | Boldrin D.,University of Trieste | Boldrin D.,University of Dundee | Marin M.,University of Trieste | And 4 more authors.
Ecological Engineering | Year: 2015

Green roofs are artificial ecosystems providing ecological, economic, and social benefits to urban areas. Recently, the interest in roof greening has increased even in Mediterranean and sub-Mediterranean areas, despite the climatic features and reduced substrate depth expose plants to extreme stress. To limit installation weight and costs, recent green roof research aims to reduce substrate depth, which apparently contrasts with the need to maximize the amount of water available to vegetation. We monitored water status, growth, and evapotranspiration of drought-adapted shrubs (Cotinus coggygria, Prunus mahaleb) growing in experimental green roof modules filled with 10 or 13. cm deep substrate. Experimental data showed that: (a) reduced substrate depth translated into less severe water stress experienced by plants; (b) shallower substrate indirectly promoted lower water consumption by vegetation as a likely consequence of reduced plant biomass; (c) both large and small rainfalls induced better recovery of water content of substrate, drainage, and water retention layers when shallow substrate was used. Evidence was provided for the possibility to install extensive green roofs vegetated with stress-tolerant shrubs in sub-Mediterranean areas using 10. cm deep substrate. Green roofs based on the combination of shallow substrate and drought-tolerant plants may be an optimal solution for solving urban ecological issues. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.


Savi T.,University of Trieste | Marin M.,University of Trieste | Boldrin D.,University of Trieste | Incerti G.,University of Naples Federico II | And 2 more authors.
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2014

Climate features of the Mediterranean area make plant survival over green roofs challenging, thus calling for research work to improve water holding capacities of green roof systems. We assessed the effects of polymer hydrogel amendment on the water holding capacity of a green roof substrate, as well as on water status and growth of Salvia officinalis. Plants were grown in green roof experimental modules containing 8. cm or 12. cm deep substrate (control) or substrate mixed with hydrogel at two different concentrations: 0.3 or 0.6%. Hydrogel significantly increased the substrate's water content at saturation, as well as water available to vegetation. Plants grown in 8. cm deep substrate mixed with 0.6% of hydrogel showed the best performance in terms of water status and membrane integrity under drought stress, associated to the lowest above-ground biomass. Our results provide experimental evidence that polymer hydrogel amendments enhance water supply to vegetation at the establishment phase of a green roof. In particular, the water status of plants is most effectively improved when reduced substrate depths are used to limit the biomass accumulation during early growth stages. A significant loss of water holding capacity of substrate-hydrogel blends was observed after 5. months from establishment of the experimental modules. We suggest that cross-optimization of physical-chemical characteristics of hydrogels and green roof substrates is needed to improve long term effectiveness of polymer-hydrogel blends. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.


Raimondo F.,Messina University | Trifilo P.,Messina University | Lo Gullo M.A.,Messina University | Andri S.,Harpo seic verdepensile | And 2 more authors.
AoB PLANTS | Year: 2015

Recent studies have highlighted the ecological, economic and social benefits assured by green roof technology to urban areas. However, green roofs are very hostile environments for plant growth because of shallow substrate depths, high temperatures and irradiance and wind exposure. This study provides experimental evidence for the importance of accurate selection of plant species and substrates for implementing green roofs in hot and arid regions, like the Mediterranean area. Experiments were performed on two shrub species (Arbutus unedo L. and Salvia officinalis L.) grown in green roof experimental modules with two substrates slightly differing in their water retention properties, as derived from moisture release curves. Physiological measurements were performed on both wellwatered and drought-stressed plants. Gas exchange, leaf and xylem water potential and also plant hydraulic conductance were measured at different time intervals following the last irrigation. The substrate type significantly affected water status. Arbutus unedo and S. officinalis showed different hydraulic responses to drought stress, with the former species being substantially isohydric and the latter one anisohydric. Both A. unedo and S. officinalis were found to be suitable species for green roofs in the Mediterranean area. However, our data suggest that appropriate choice of substrate is key to the success of green roof installations in arid environments, especially if anisohydric species areemployed. © The Authors 2014.


PubMed | University of Sheffield, Harpo seic verdepensile and University of Trieste
Type: | Journal: The Science of the total environment | Year: 2016

Green roofs are gaining momentum in the arid and semi-arid regions due to their multiple benefits as compared with conventional roofs. One of the most critical steps in green roof installation is the selection of drought and heat tolerant species that can thrive under extreme microclimate conditions. We monitored the water status, growth and survival of 11 drought-adapted shrub species grown on shallow green roof modules (10 and 13cm deep substrate) and analyzed traits enabling plants to cope with drought (symplastic and apoplastic resistance) and heat stress (root membrane stability). The physiological traits conferring efficiency/safety to the water transport system under severe drought influenced plant water status and represent good predictors of both plant water use and growth rates over green roofs. Moreover, our data suggest that high substrate temperature represents a stress factor affecting plant survival to a larger extent than drought per se. In fact, the major cause influencing seedling survival on shallow substrates was the species-specific root resistance to heat, a single and easy measurable trait that should be integrated into the methodological framework for screening and selection of suitable shrub species for roof greening in the Mediterranean.

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