Prof. Leon Blaustein, director of the University of Haifa’s new Green Roofs Ecology Center, says the Israeli center is the first of its kind in the Middle East and one of the first worldwide to focus specifically on how to conserve biodiversity in an urban setting. “When you create a city, you’re destroying much of the natural habitat for plants and animals, and we want to mitigate this as much as possible with our rooftop habitats,” Blaustein tells ISRAEL21c.
Blaustein and his team have installed 48 experimental modules on top of the university’s Student Union, each with a different growing material, drainage configuration, and plant grouping. Ecology researchers around the world will be watching as the Israelis monitor how well each of the modules thrives and attracts insects, birds, and other fauna, in the hope of determining the most successful recipe for developing biodiverse green roofs in arid climates. Eventually, they hope to create experimental green roof plots on additional buildings on the campus and around the city of Haifa, as well as other Israeli cities.
The Green Roofs Ecology Center will provide an unusual outdoor laboratory for ecology and evolutionary biology researchers from around the world to develop and test ecological theories, says Blaustein. “We’re just getting started. We are looking for collaborators outside the university, such as government and NGO officials,” says Blaustein. For more information, visit Facebook page: The Kadas Green Roofs Ecology Research Center
Photo Credit: The Kadas Green Roofs Ecology Research Center Facebook page
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