Ecosystem services from large urban green spaces

Funders: Australian Research Council, The Australian Golf Course Superintendents Association, The Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology

Researchers: A/Prof Stephen LivesleyA/Prof Nick Williams, Dr Caragh Threlfall, Dr Amy Hahs, Prof Nigel Stork, Dr Alessandro Ossola, Jess Baumann, Jarvis Mihsill, Lee Wilson, Jess Mackie

Year: 2011-2014


In this project, we explored biodiversity and carbon storage provided by urban green spaces with a focus on golf courses.

The study provided land managers from golf courses and community members with an understanding of the biodiversity and carbon storage value of urban green spaces and ways to restore biodiversity habitat.

We assessed the fauna biodiversity status of 13 golf courses, adjacent residential areas and parks in south-east Melbourne including measuring the diversity of birds, native bees, micro-bats and insect groups. We also measured soil carbon and above ground carbon storage.


We produced newsletters, presentations and publications to support strong community and industry participation:


Threlfall, C.G., Mata, L., Mackie, J.A., Hahs, A.K., Stork, N.E., Williams, N.S.G. & Livesley, S.J. (2017) Increasing biodiversity in urban green spaces through simple vegetation interventions. Journal of Applied Ecology, 54, 1874-1883

Harris, V., Kendal, D., Hahs, A., Threlfall, C. (2017) Green space context and vegetation complexity shape people’s preferences for urban public parks and residential gardens, Landscape Research. doi:10.1080/01426397.2017.1302571

Ossola, A., Aponte, C., Hahs, A.K., Livesley, S.J. (2017) Contrasting effects of urban habitat complexity on metabolic functional diversity and composition of litter and soil bacterial communities. Urban Ecosystems, 20(3): 595-607.

Threlfall, C.G., Williams, N.S.G., Hahs, A.K., Livesley, S.J. (2016) Approaches to urban vegetation management and the impacts on urban bird and bat assemblages. Landscape and Urban Planning 153: 28-39.

Threlfall C.G., Ossola, A, Hahs, A.K, Williams, N.S.G., Wilson, L. and Livesley, S.J. (2016) Variation in vegetation structure and composition across urban green space types. Front. Ecol.Evol.4:66. doi: 10.3389/fevo.2016.00066

Livesley S J, Ossola A, Threlfall C G, Hahs A K and Williams N S G (2016). Soil carbon and carbon/nitrogen ratio change under tree canopy, tall grass, and turf grass areas of urban green space. Journal of Environmental Quality 45, 215-223

Threlfall. C.G., Walker, K. Williams, N.S.G., Hahs, A.K., Mata, L. Stork, N, and Livesley, S.J. (2015) The conservation value of urban green space habitats for native bee communities. Biological Conservation 187, 240-248


For more information please contact Stephen Livesley from the Green Infrastructure Research Group at


Caragh with bat sonic detector in tree behind her.
Scope TV recording Caragh and Jarvis for children’s science program.
Luis Mata, a visiting PhD student from Barcelona, sweep net sampling for invertebrates in residential green spaces.
Luis Mata, a visiting PhD student from Barcelona, sweep net sampling for invertebrates in an urban golf course.