Evaluating the ecological services of roof greening plants in Beijing based on functional traits

Yuhong TIAN, Fangshu ZHAO, Tiantian WANG, Chi Yung JIM, Taoran XU, Jianjun JIN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Selecting suitable species to enhance ecological functions is crucial for improvements in the planning and design of roof greening and in maintaining sustainable urban development, especially in rapidly urbanized areas. Assisted by field trips to enhance studies, the present project assessed the ecological functions of 207 plant species used for roof greening in Beijing based on their key functional traits. The results indicate that regulating, cultural, supplying, and supporting functions differed significantly among species and families in the study area. Rosaceae species have higher levels of overall ecological functions than other species, and a large number of Compositae species have lower-level functions. Compared to other families, Araliaceae and Nyctaginaceae have higher mean values of cultural and supporting functions and the highest mean overall function value of 37. Ulmaceae, Sapindaceae, Ginkgoaceae, Berberidaceae, and Aceraceae have higher mean regulating, cultural, supporting, and overall function values. Amaranthaceae, Umbelliferae, Lamiaceae, Saxifragaceae, Ericaceae, and Gramineae have lower values. The existing roof greening in Beijing includes some pitfalls with respect to plant composition as well as plant selection that does not consider ecological functions. The following measures could be proposed to increase ecological functions: (1) Increasing the number of plants with shallow roots and with strong adaptation traits to roof conditions; (2) Enriching ecological communities with diverse plants with high ecological functions; and (3) Carrying out rational ecological planning and management based on detailed and objective data on plant species. Future studies should focus on specifying plant functional traits to enhance ecological functions. Copyright © 2019 by the authors.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5310
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019


Tian, Y., Zhao, F., Wang, T., Jim, C. Y., Xu, T., & Jin, J. (2019). Evaluating the ecological services of roof greening plants in Beijing based on functional traits. Sustainability, 11(19). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.3390/su11195310


  • Plant functional traits
  • Ecological function
  • Roof greening
  • Rapidly urbanized area


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