Amy K Hahs

Amy K Hahs
University of Melbourne | MSD · School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences

B.Sc. (Honours); Ph.D.

About

90
Publications
42,190
Reads
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4,018
Citations
Introduction
Amy K Hahs is a Senior Lecturer in Urban Horticulture at the School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, The University of Melbourne. Her research covers ecology, biodiversity, eco-evolutionary adaptations, landscapes, remote sensing, GIS, and urban impacts, and she is currently focussing on questions through the lens of biodiverse and multi-functional urban greenspaces. Amy is also the Principle and Founding Director of Urban Ecology in Action, a bespoke consulting company working with government, agencies, organisations and industry to deliver win-win biodiversity outcomes that build better cities—for now and for the future.
Additional affiliations
January 2019 - November 2021
University of Melbourne
Position
  • Lecturer
November 2016 - November 2019
Urban Ecology in Action
Position
  • Managing Director
Description
  • Founding Director of a bespoke consulting company bringing an urban ecology voice to projects.
August 2006 - November 2016
Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria
Position
  • Ecologist
Education
March 1999 - August 2006
University of Melbourne
Field of study
  • Urban Ecology
February 1993 - November 1996
The University of Melbourne
Field of study
  • Plant Ecology, Biogeography

Publications

Publications (90)
Article
Urbanization is rapidly transforming much of Southeast Asia, altering the structure and function of the landscape, as well as the frequency and intensity of the interactions between people, animals, and the environment. In this study, we explored the impact of urbanization on zoonotic disease risk by simultaneously characterizing changes in the eco...
Article
Full-text available
Since the 1990s, recognition of urban biodiversity research has increased steadily. Knowledge of how ecological communities respond to urban pressures can assist in addressing global questions related to biodiversity. To assess the state of this research field in meeting this aim, we conducted a systematic review of the urban biodiversity literatur...
Article
Full-text available
Invertebrates comprise the most diversified animal group on Earth. Due to their long evolutionary history and small size, invertebrates occupy a remarkable range of ecological niches, and play an important role as “ecosystem engineers” by structuring networks of mutualistic and antagonistic ecological interactions in almost all terrestrial ecosyste...
Article
Full-text available
Biodiversity conservation and mental health and wellbeing are of increasing global concern, with growing relevance to planning and policy. A growing body of literature exploring the relationships between biodiversity and mental health and wellbeing—based on early research conducted largely from social science perspectives—suggests that particular q...
Article
Full-text available
We introduce the AusTraits database - a compilation of values of plant traits for taxa in the Australian flora (hereafter AusTraits). AusTraits synthesises data on 448 traits across 28,640 taxa from field campaigns, published literature, taxonomic monographs, and individual taxon descriptions. Traits vary in scope from physiological measures of per...
Preprint
Full-text available
The detrimental effects of human-induced environmental change on people and other species are acutely manifested in urban environments. While urban greenspaces are known to mitigate these effects and support functionally diverse ecological communities, evidence of the ecological outcomes of urban greening remains scarce. We use a longitudinal obser...
Article
Understanding changes in urban vegetation is essential for ensuring sustainable and healthy cities, mitigating disturbances due to climate change, sustaining urban biodiversity, and supporting human health and wellbeing. This study investigates and describes the distribution and dynamic changes in urban vegetation over a 15-year period in Greater M...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Whitehorse City Council is currently working to develop their next round of policy documents related to biodiversity and greenspace in their municipality. They invited researchers at The University of Melbourne to assist them with compiling baseline information related to a preliminary analysis of existing biodiversity, and wildlife habitat connect...
Article
Understanding changes in urban vegetation is essential for ensuring sustainable and healthy cities, mitigating disturbances due to climate change, sustaining urban biodiversity, and supporting human health and wellbeing. This study investigates and describes the distribution and dynamic changes in urban vegetation over a 15-year period in Greater M...
Article
Full-text available
Remnant forests in urban areas are hotspots of urban biodiversity. However, the survival and integrity of many remnant forests are currently at risk. Better knowledge of the interactions between remnant forests and urban environments is urgently needed for guiding the conservation effort. In this study, we intend to answer the question: how do patc...
Chapter
Urban environments around the world are the result of their evolutionary and geographic history, and more contemporary influences of the social, cultural, economic, political and technical systems that shaped their construction. In this chapter, we use urban filters as the overarching framework within which specific aspects pertaining to the histor...
Preprint
Full-text available
Urbanization is rapidly transforming much of Southeast Asia, altering the structure and function of the landscape, as well as the frequency and intensity of the interactions between people, animals, and the environment. In this study, we began to explore the impact of urbanization on zoonotic disease risk by simultaneously characterizing changes in...
Article
The contribution of urban greenspaces to support biodiversity and provide benefits for people is increasingly recognised. However, ongoing management practices favour vegetation oversimplification - often limiting greenspaces to lawns and tree canopy rather than multi-layered vegetation that includes under- and midstorey - and the use of nonnative...
Article
Full-text available
Technology is transforming societies worldwide. A major innovation is the emergence of robotics and autonomous systems(RAS), which have the potential to revolutionize cities for both people and nature. Nonetheless, the opportunities and challenges associated with RAS for urban ecosystems have yet to be considered systematically. Here, we report the...
Article
Technology is transforming societies worldwide. A major innovation is the emergence of robotics and autonomous systems (RAS), which have the potential to revolutionize cities for both people and nature. Nonetheless, the opportunities and challenges associated with RAS for urban ecosystems have yet to be considered systematically. Here, we report th...
Preprint
Full-text available
We introduce the AusTraits database - a compilation of measurements of plant traits for taxa in the Australian flora (hereafter AusTraits). AusTraits synthesises data on 375 traits across 29230 taxa from field campaigns, published literature, taxonomic monographs, and individual taxa descriptions. Traits vary in scope from physiological measures of...
Article
Rapid urbanization and the global loss of biodiversity necessitate the development of a research agenda that addresses knowledge gaps in urban ecology that will inform policy, management, and conservation. To advance this goal, we present six topics to pursue in urban biodiversity research: the socioeconomic and social-ecological drivers of biodive...
Article
Full-text available
Many studies on disparities in the distribution of urban green space (UGS) focus on the quantity and accessibility of designated open spaces. However, when all types of UGS, including unmanaged green areas, are accounted for, claims of green space distributive injustice become more complicated. We conducted a preliminary investigation questioning t...
Preprint
Full-text available
The contribution of urban greenspaces to support biodiversity and provide benefits for people is increasingly recognised. However, ongoing management practices still favour (1) vegetation oversimplification, often limiting greenspaces to lawns and tree canopy rather than multi-layered vegetation that includes under and midstorey; and (2) the use of...
Article
Full-text available
Vegetation in urban areas provides many essential ecosystem services. These services may be indirect, such as carbon sequestration and biological diversity, or direct, including microclimate regulation and cultural values. As the global population is becoming ever more urbanized these services will be increasingly vital to the quality of life in ur...
Article
Natural environments may be important for subjective wellbeing, yet evidence is sparse and measures of nature are unspecific. We used linear regression models to investigate the relationship between greenness, biodiversity and blue space and subjective wellbeing in 4,912 adults living in metropolitan Melbourne, Australia. Greenness (overall, privat...
Article
Full-text available
Table 3 contained an error in how the degrees of freedom are displayed. The comma separating the model (e.g., 1) and error (e.g., 121) has been deleted in the Auckland, Melbourne, and Sydney columns. Where the degrees of freedom should read “1,121”, for example, it displays as “1121”. The corrected table follows. © 2018, Springer Science+Business M...
Article
Burgeoning populations and the increasing concentration of humans in urban areas have resulted in extensive and increasing degradation and destruction of natural ecosystems. The multitude of impacts and their drivers in urban areas across realms are often studied at local scales, but there is regularly a mismatch between the spatial extent of the i...
Article
Full-text available
Cities tend to be built in areas of high biodiversity, and the accelerating pace of urbanization threatens the persistence of many species and ecological communities globally. However, urban environments also offer unique prospects for biological conservation, with multiple benefits for humans and other species. We present seven ecological principl...
Article
Full-text available
In recent decades, empirical evidence has demonstrated that nature can enable urban environments to support human wellbeing. Research into links between nature and human wellbeing is often carried out with one wellbeing index or in single locations, which can limit our understanding of findings. To further this work, we deployed an online survey to...
Article
Cities are rapidly expanding worldwide and there is an increasing urgency to protect urban biodiversity, principally through the provision of suitable habitat, most of which is in urban green spaces. Despite this, clear guidelines of how to reverse biodiversity loss or increase it within a given urban green space is lacking. 2.We examined the taxa-...
Article
Full-text available
Urbanization causes major environmental changes globally, which can potentially homogenize biota across cities through the loss and gain of particular types of species. We examine whether urban environments consistently select for plants with particular traits and the implications of such changes on the functional composition of urban floras. We cl...
Article
Full-text available
Functional diversity and composition of soil bacterial communities affect important soil biogeochemical processes. In natural and semi-natural ecosystems, variations in habitat complexity have been shown to significantly impact both litter and soil bacterial communities. However, this remains largely untested in urban ecosystems, where human manage...
Article
Full-text available
Landscape preferences shape decision-making and drive the ecological outcomes of urban landscapes. We investigate how people’s landscape preferences are shaped by the green space context (public park vs private residential garden landscapes) and by physical features such as vegetation complexity. A postal questionnaire was sent to households near s...
Article
Full-text available
Insects are key components of urban ecological networks and are greatly impacted by anthropogenic activities. Yet, few studies have examined how insect functional groups respond to changes to urban vegetation associated with different management actions. We investigated the response of herbivorous and predatory heteropteran bugs to differences in v...
Article
Full-text available
The majority of humanity now lives in cities or towns, with this proportion expected to continue increasing for the foreseeable future. As novel ecosystems, urban areas offer an ideal opportunity to examine multi-scalar processes involved in community assembly as well as the role of human activities in modulating environmental drivers of biodiversi...
Technical Report
Full-text available
How did The Little Things that Run the City get its name? The Little Things that Run the City has been inspired by Edward O. Wilson’s famous quote: “…let me say a word on behalf of these little things that run the world” The quote was part of an address given by Wilson on occasion of the opening of the invertebrate exhibit of the National Zoolog...
Article
To balance the needs of people and biodiversity in cities, local governments are increasingly incorporating green spaces and urban greening initiatives into urban planning frameworks. Despite this, there is little information on which vegetation features or management actions are most useful in supporting biodiversity within these green spaces. We...
Article
Full-text available
Decomposition of organic matter is an essential process regulating fluxes of energy and matter within ecosystems. Although soil microbes drive decomposition, this is often facilitated by detritivores through comminution. The contribution of detritivores and microbes to comminution and decomposition processes is likely to be affected by the habitat...
Article
Full-text available
The majority of humanity now lives in cities or towns, with this proportion expected to continue increasing for the foreseeable future. As novel ecosystems, urban areas offer an ideal opportunity to examine multi-scalar processes involved in community assembly as well as the role of human activities in modulating environmental drivers of biodiversi...
Technical Report
Full-text available
On the 16th February 2016, the Urban Sustainability Branch of the City of Melbourne conducted a workshop with a working group of plant, fungi, bird, reptile, frog, mammal, insect and mollusc experts with the objective of identifying appropriate target species for rewilding, monitoring and public engagement in the City of Melbourne. The workshop was...
Article
Full-text available
The ecological sustainability and function of urban landscapes is strongly influenced by the composition and structure of the local plant community. Taxonomic composition generally refers to the identity of the species comprising the community, while we define structure as the presence of multiple canopy layers, as well as stems of varying diameter...
Article
Biotic homogenization has been predicted to occur in cities across the world. However, the empirical evidence has been less than convincing. Lososová et al. explore the middle ground between these two points of view in this issue of Journal of Vegetation Science. They take a more sophisticated approach, linking homogenization to bigger questions of...
Article
Around the world the development and growth of cities and towns are having a significant impact on local and global biodiversity. There is growing interest in the adaptation of nonhuman organisms to urban environments, and we distinguish between the concepts of adaptation and adaptedness. Most of these studies have focused on animals, especially bi...
Article
Full-text available
Habitat complexity is a major determinant of structure and diversity of ant assemblages. Following the size-grain hypothesis, smaller ant species are likely to be advantaged in more complex habitats compared to larger species. Habitat complexity can act as an environmental filter based on species size and morphological traits, therefore affecting t...
Article
Full-text available
Soils in urban green spaces are an important carbon (C) store, but urban soils with a high carbon to nitrogen (C/N) ratio can also buffer N eutrophication from fertilizer use or atmospheric deposition. The influence of vegetation management practices on soil C cycling and C/N ratios in urban green spaces is largely unknown. In 2013, we collected re...
Article
The expansion, densification and proliferation of urban areas around the world is currently occurring at a rate that is unprecedented in human history. It is predicted that global urban land cover will triple between 2000 and 2030, with some regions (including biodiversity hotspots) experiencing a nine fold increase in urban land cover over the sam...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Worldwide urbanization leads to soil sealing of vast areas previously devoted to agricultural and natural landscapes. Urban green spaces (UGSs) represent most of the unsealed surfaces left in an urbanized landscape. Nevertheless, previous land use, and subsequent vegetation structure and management greatly differ among UGSs, determining their soil...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The simplification of the structure of urban ecosystems compared to natural systems is a common trait worldwide. Like the homogenization of urban ecosystems, the simplification of urban ecosystems is likely to be driven by socio-economical factors and management practices. While many studies have investigated how the simplification of urban ecosyst...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Urban ecosystems are frequently characterized by simplified structures compared to the surrounding natural ecosystems, which in turn control microclimate, habitat and resources for soil organisms and consequently soil processes depending upon them. While various studies have investigated leaf litter decomposition processes in forest remnants along...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The urbanisation of natural and semi-natural environments represents one of the most prominent and recent examples of global change. Early in the new millennium the number of people living in cities surpassed the number of rural dwellers and this trend will continue in the future. Despite the importance of urban ecosystems as a global change phenom...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding how global environmental change impacts insect biodiversity is central to the core principals of conservation biology. To preserve the ecosystem services provided by insects in cities, it is crucial to understand how insect species are influenced by the degree of urbanization of the surrounding landscape. Using a hierarchical occupanc...
Conference Paper
Urban landscapes show high heterogeneity at a variety of scales. Numerous studies have investigated the effects of urban landscape composition on ecological processes and services at large scales (city, watershed, neighbourhood). However, soil processes vary greatly at much finer scales. Moreover, current evaluations of hydrological processes in ur...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding of how species distributions are driven by landscape-level processes has been obscured by null or inconsistent findings from poorly designed studies. We explore how differences in the way potential drivers of species distributions are defined can influence their perceived effects. Specifically, we evaluate how much statistical power i...
Article
The formation and growth of cities sets in train a slow process of local species extinction, although it can take a long time for that extinction to be realised. Using Melbourne as an example, the authors ask ‘What plant species are potentially at risk and what strategies and actions could minimise the predicted negative outcomes?’
Article
Urban areas around the world are rapidly expanding, with flow-on consequences for the native plants and animals that inhabit these areas. The impacts of this urban growth are not always immediate, and in the case of the local extinction of plant species may take up to 100–150 years. Understanding how urbanization affects ecological patterns and pro...