Support the Native Prairie Ecosystem

One of the most biodiverse ecoregions in the world, the great plains of North America once stretched from Alberta's Rocky Mountains all the way to Texas. Today, only about 10% of Canada's Native Prairies remain intact habitat; they are one of the most endangered ecosystems in North America. Building green roofs with native species in our cities is a small way to help preserve this ecosystem. 

Wintering Alberta Native Prairie Grasses - Katheryn Taylor

How Native Roofs Can Help
 

Our native roofs are comprised solely of species found in Alberta's prairies. 

  • Rooftops make up as much as 70% of the area of the downtown core.  When topped with native plant species, rooftops can function as islands amongst urban development, creating new habitat in an otherwise uninviting environment. 

  • In key areas they can provide rest places for migratory birds, as well as breeding and foraging habitats. 

  • Introducing native environments to cities increases the public's awareness of native species and habitat loss.

 

North America's Native Prairies are Disappearing

 

 

Our Native Prairies are Important

 

  • Native prairie grasslands store carbon in soil – they are in fact superior carbon sinks to forests with similar characteristics. Soil under Canada’s native grasslands contain up to 200 tonnes of carbon per hectare.

  • There could be as much as two to three billion tonnes of carbon stored within the uncultivated prairies of western Canada.

    • Converting  native prairie to cultivated farmland results in a 20-35% loss of carbon stored in surface soil within a few years or decades.

  • Introduced plants, including agricultural crops and common urban varietals (i.e. Kentucky Blue Grass) tend to require far more water and chemicals which can contaminate waterways.

 

Wintering Alberta native prairie grasses
- Photo by Katheryn Taylor