Brownfield-inspired green infrastructure: a new approach to urban biodiversity conservation

PhD Thesis


Nash, C. 2017. Brownfield-inspired green infrastructure: a new approach to urban biodiversity conservation. PhD Thesis University of East London ACE
AuthorsNash, C.
TypePhD Thesis
Abstract

Brownfield sites can support nationally and internationally important biodiversity that is being lost from the broader landscape. This research was undertaken in response to the need for targeted solutions to compensate for the loss of brownfield habitat mosaics to development. The research investigated innovative approaches to urban green infrastructure (UGI) design, based on ecomimicry of brownfield habitat mosaics. The aim being to support new developments in meeting sustainability goals in terms of no net loss of biodiversity.

The research comprised three main studies: an experimental investigation of the feasibility of creating novel wetland habitat mosaics on extensive green roofs (EGRs); a niche study of a novel biosolar brownfield roof; and an innovative brownfield landscaping experiment. Surveys of plant and invertebrate communities were undertaken to explore community development, and evaluate the effectiveness of the brownfield mosaic ecomimicry approach to UGI design. Elements of the research were co-created with a developer to facilitate knowledge sharing.

The novel drainage EGR design successfully created ephemeral pools, and substrate heterogeneity produced a vegetation mosaic. Invertebrates recorded on the roofs included key conservation priority species, and important brownfield assemblages, but a limited representation of wetland species. This novel design could augment existing EGR typologies. The biosolar brownfield roof study demonstrated that PV panels influenced vegetation development, and that PV ‘edge’ zones were more diverse, contributing to creation of a habitat mosaic. Invertebrates groups responded differently to PV presence. Nonetheless the roof provided resources for several target endangered species. The experimental brownfield landscaping supported key conservation priority brownfield species and assemblages, and a much richer plant and invertebrate community than traditional landscaping.

The results validated the ecomimicry approach as a framework for UGI design, and the innovative measures investigated could make a valuable contribution to compensating for brownfield habitat loss in the region.

Year2017
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.15123/PUB.6678
Publication dates
PrintMay 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited20 Dec 2017
Publisher's version
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https://repository.uel.ac.uk/item/84vy8

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