Stephen J. Livesley's research while affiliated with University of Melbourne and other places

Publications (156)

Article
Full-text available
Evapotranspiration is an important cooling mechanism in urban green space (UGS). Irrigating vegetated surfaces with potable water, collected stormwater or recycled sewage water has the potential to increase the cooling effect of UGS by increasing evapotranspiration. Such cooling effect may not always be strong because evapotranspiration is dependen...
Article
The success of urban forest management strategies is dependent on public support for and engagement with urban trees. Satisfaction with urban trees and their management, and the level of trust people have in urban tree managers, are useful for understanding public opinions. Yet these concepts, and the mechanisms leading to the formation of public o...
Conference Paper
The success of urban forestry depends on community support and engagement. How satisfied is the community with their urban trees is a useful way to understand these processes. However, public perception is complex and depends on a wide array of cognitive factors. How these factors relate and influence people’s level of satisfaction with urban trees...
Article
Full-text available
Solutions that use stormwater runoff to rapidly establish tree canopy cover in cities have received significant attention. Passive irrigation systems that direct stormwater to trees have the potential to increase growth and transpiration and may limit drought stress. However, little data from the field demonstrates this, and we lack robust and reli...
Article
Full-text available
Green façades can provide cooling benefits through the shading of walls, evapotranspiration, and insulation. These benefits depend on good plant coverage and tolerance of heat stress. This requires sufficient rooting volume for plant growth and an adequate supply of moisture. On high-rise buildings, plants can be constrained by small rooting volume...
Article
Rainfall in cities can generate large volumes of stormwater runoff which degrades receiving waterways. Irrigating trees with runoff (passive irrigation) has the potential to increase transpiration and contribute to stormwater management by reducing runoff received by downstream waterways, but the stochastic nature of rainfall may expose trees with...
Article
Savanna regions are increasingly developed for agriculture to support population growth, food demand and export economies. This is driving interest in the conversion of natural savanna to cattle grazed pastures or horticultural crops in Northern Australia. Savanna clearing leads to aboveground carbon (C) loss but impacts below-ground are less certa...
Conference Paper
Urban trees are recognized as critical for biodiversity, health, well-being, and climate-adaptation. As trees age and increase in size, they provide more significant benefits, such as cooling and shade. While many cities have ambitious plans to increase tree numbers and canopy cover, cities also struggle to maintain and increase tree numbers. This...
Technical Report
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Executive Summary: Urban street trees are recognised as being important to people and wildlife in Ballarat, but not a lot is known about how trees contribute to social and biodiversity benefits. To help fill this gap, a research group led by the University of Melbourne has partnered with the City of Ballarat to quantify the social and ecological...
Article
Most studies of urban forest management look at vegetation on public land. Yet, to meet ambitious urban forest targets, cities must attempt to maintain or increase trees and canopy cover on private urban land too. In this study, we review and evaluate international approaches to protecting and retaining trees on private urban land. Our study combin...
Conference Paper
Many world cities have plans to increase tree numbers and canopy cover. However, cities often struggle to articulate the social and ecological benefits of urban trees. Advances in experimental socio-ecological research are needed to understand the combined social and ecological benefits of urban trees. Experimentally measuring the ecological and so...
Article
Modern agricultural irrigation can produce extensive cooling that is strong enough to mask the current effect of global climate change. Irrigating urban green spaces therefore has the potential to mitigate heat stress in cities. However, the cooling potentials of irrigating urban green space in different climate regions of the world have never been...
Article
Green façades can help to cool cities and buildings best when they are irrigated to provide good canopy growth and transpiration cooling. Irrigating green façades with greywater can reduce potable water demand and make use of building greywater supplies, however, greywater may negatively impact climbing plant growth through salt accumulation. We ev...
Article
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Abstract Water smart cities are increasing their use of irrigation and misting to cope with extreme heat and drought. This is being enabled by widespread use of rainwater tanks, stormwater capture and storage systems, and recycled sewage wastewater to irrigate street trees as well as private and public green spaces. These alternative water resource...
Article
In many cities, private trees dominate urban tree canopy cover, but densification often means fewer private trees and diminishing urban tree canopy cover. Local governments use several mechanisms to protect trees on private land, but their strengths and weaknesses are not well understood. We review private tree protections in six local governments...
Article
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Decisions about urban forests are critical to urban liveability and resilience. This study aimed to evaluate the range of positions held by urban forest managers from local governments in the state of Victoria, Australia, regarding the management and governance challenges that affect their decision-making. This study was based on a Q-method approac...
Article
Analysing the climate envelope of plant species has been suggested as a tool to predict the vulnerability of tree species in future urban climates. However, there is little evidence that the climate envelope of a plant species directly relates to the drought and thermal tolerance of that species, at least not at the resolution required to identify...
Article
Platanus x acerifolia (London Plane) is a widely planted street tree throughout cities in temperate and Mediterranean climates. Heatwave intensity and frequency is likely to increase in these cities as a combined result of the urban heat island and climate change. High air temperature during heatwaves can lead to canopy leaf loss in vulnerable tree...
Technical Report
Trees on private urban land (i.e., land owned and managed by private landowners) are central to the ambitious plans of many global cities to increase urban canopy-cover. This presents many problems and often causes tensions in local and state governments due to the difficulty in controlling and regulating private ownership. To help address this, th...
Conference Paper
Peri-urban dynamics are challenging the sustainability of Australian cities. Peri-urban areas represent transition points of planning regimes and governance structures and processes between urban and rural spaces, usually characterized by intensified growth patterns and fast expansion of urban physical elements. These dynamics challenge the impleme...
Article
Many cities face a struggle to reconcile ambitious tree canopy cover targets with urban development pressures. Canopy cover in The City of Melbourne, Australia, which has a target of 40% canopy cover on public land by 2040, was analysed together with individual tree removal data, with particular focus on how many street trees were removed near majo...
Article
Awareness of the benefits of urban trees has led many cities to develop ambitious targets to increase tree numbers and canopy cover. Policy instruments that guide the planning of cities recognize the need for new governance arrangements to implement this agenda. Urban forests are greatly influenced by the decisions of municipal managers, but there...
Article
Evapotranspiration is an important aspect of the hydrological cycle in natural landscapes. In cities, evapotranspiration is typically limited by reduced vegetation and extensive impervious surfaces. Stormwater control measures (SCMs) seek, among other objectives, to move the urban hydrological cycle towards pre-development conditions, promoting pro...
Chapter
Impervious surfaces in urban areas generate substantial volumes of polluted surface runoff, resulting in flooding and degradation of waterway ecosystems. Urban trees can help to mitigate the adverse effects of runoff by restoring key hydrological processes, including canopy interception, throughfall, stemflow, and transpiration. Understanding how t...
Conference Paper
Many Australian cities have ambitious targets to increase tree numbers and canopy cover, but they also remove many urban trees every year. This is because many large, old trees pose a hazard to human safety and hinder construction activities, and hence are often removed. However, the services that trees provide are more significant as trees age and...
Article
Soil compaction can be a major impediment to tree growth as it damages soil physical and biological properties and reduces plant available water. This may result in trees that are more vulnerable to seasonal water stress. Improving soil physical and biological properties by increasing soil organic matter content may lead to improved tree establishm...
Technical Report
Local government strategies and policies aimed at increasing tree planting and canopy-cover have become a familiar feature in many cities. However, the role of private urban land areas in a city’s ambitious plans to retain and increase the number of trees and canopy-cover is usually overlooked. In 2019, the University of Melbourne was funded by Hor...
Article
Australia tops the world’s charts in occurrence of skin cancer and intensity of heat waves, while concurrently achieving high childhood obesity levels, due in part to low rates of physical activity. These issues converge in the challenge of protecting school children from heat and ultra-violet light exposure whilst simultaneously encouraging them t...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
ABSTRACT Since the 1990s decision-makers in cities around the world have come to realise the benefits of green infrastructure. The result of this has been efforts to vastly expand urban canopy cover in the hope that it will deliver benefits in public health, air pollution removal, heat mitigation and stormwater retention, infiltration and evaporati...
Article
Background and aims: Organic matter is often used as an amendment to attempt restoration of degraded soils to improve tree establishment and growth. One key aim is to increase plant available water in the soil profile. The texture of the soil, the type of organic amendment (e.g. compost or biochar), and the native environment of the tree (mesic or...
Article
Full-text available
Directing stormwater runoff to irrigate urban trees has the potential to simultaneously: (i) reduce the volume of runoff generated by impervious surfaces and (ii) reduce tree drought stress and increase growth. Many papers promote this concept, but few have quantified both potential benefits. In this study, we quantified both the runoff retention p...
Conference Paper
Urban trees are critical for the future of sustainable cities. While many cities have ambitious targets to increase tree-canopy cover, many municipal governments also spend millions of dollars planting and maintaining urban trees every year. The services that trees provide are more significant as trees age and increase in size. However, large, old...
Article
Full-text available
Urban trees deliver many ecological services to the urban environment, including reduced runoff generation in storms. Trees intercept rainfall and store part of the water on leaves and branches, reducing the volume and velocity of water that reaches the soil. Moreover, trees modify the spatial distribution of rainwater under the canopy. However, me...
Article
Large trees are often seen as a means of offsetting negative consequences of growing urban densification. To increase the tree canopy cover of dense urban landscapes, developers, planners and urban tree managers are often forced to plant into damaged and compacted sites. Compacted urban soils can hinder the establishment and growth of deep rooted,...
Article
A rapid rise of urban population is making cities denser. Consequently, the proportion of impervious surface cover has enlarged, increasing the amount and speed of runoff reaching urban catchment areas, which may cause flash flooding. Trees play a key role to reduce runoff in the city, as they intercept rainfall and store part of it on their leaves...
Article
Tree pits are attractive stormwater control measures (SCMs) for implementation in dense urban areas because of their small footprint, their potentially low cost and the co-benefits they may bring through improved street tree growth. While they provide street trees with passive irrigation, it remains to be determined if tree pits may achieve meaning...
Article
Biofiltration systems are highly valued in urban landscapes as they remove pollutants from stormwater runoff whilst contributing to a reduction in runoff volumes. Integrating trees in biofilters may improve their runoff retention performance, as trees have greater transpiration than commonly used sedge or herb species. High transpiration rates will...
Article
Full-text available
Cities around the world are embracing stormwater control measures (SCMs) to reduce the environmental damage caused by impervious runoff. At the same time, there is a push to increase tree canopy cover to green neighborhoods and mitigate urban heat. Establishing SCMs that include trees may achieve these two objectives, but it is important to underst...
Article
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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...
Conference Paper
Urban trees are increasingly being recognized as critical for the future of sustainable cities. Many cities have ambitious targets to increase tree-canopy cover. The success of these initiatives depends on understanding how people make decisions about urban forests based on their values, preferences, scientific evidence, and social needs. However,...
Article
Urban macroecology studies can provide important insights into the impacts of climate change and human intervention in ecosystems. Current theory predicts that urban trees are constrained by temperature in very cold climates but not in other climates. Here we predict the climatic niche variables of planted urban tree populations from the realized c...
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
Decayed wood is a common issue in urban trees that deteriorates tree vitality over time, yet its effect on biomass yield therefore stored carbon has been overlooked. We mapped the occurrence and calculated the extent of decayed wood in standing Ulmus procera, Platanus × acerifolia and Corymbia maculata trees. The main stem of 43 trees was measured...
Poster
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Retrofitting stormwater infiltration systems into residential nature strips to support tree transpiration and stormwater reduction
Article
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Forest ecosystems play a crucial role in the global carbon cycle by sequestering a considerable fraction of anthropogenic CO2, thereby contributing to climate change mitigation. However, there is a gap in our understanding about the carbon dynamics of eucalypt (broadleaf evergreen) forests in temperate climates, which might differ from temperate ev...
Article
The recent decline in the health of the City of Melbourne’s deciduous tree species to a recent drought event has led to concerns about the vulnerability of the city’s trees to future climate change. Understanding the response of tree growth to past climate is critical for determining the likely impacts of climate change on future growth and can pro...
Article
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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
Urban tree canopy cover (UTC) is a simple, and common, measure of urban forest resource. Urban infill development is likely to lead to losses in UTC under private tenure, at a time when local governments are setting ambitious targets to increase UTC overall. Simple, statistically rigorous methods are required to benchmark and track change in UTC, w...
Article
Full-text available
Soils in temperate forests ecosystems are the greatest terrestrial CH4 sink globally. Global and regional circulation models predict decreased average rainfall, increased extreme rainfall events and increased temperatures for many temperate ecosystems. However, most studies of soil CH4 uptake have only considered extended periods of drought rather...
Article
The way a street tree is able to modify the local microclimate on pedestrian walkways may vary according to tree species according to key canopy and leaf characteristics, such as leaf angle, leaf size, canopy architecture or simply canopy density. Three similar north-south orientated streets, with three different tree species possessing different c...
Article
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Well-drained, aerated soils are important sinks for atmospheric methane (CH4) via the process of CH4 oxidation by methane-oxidising bacteria (MOB). This terrestrial CH4 sink may contribute towards climate change mitigation, but the impact of changing soil moisture and temperature regimes on CH4 uptake is not well understood in all ecosystems. Soils...
Article
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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...
Book
Full-text available
Decayed wood is a common issue in urban trees that deteriorates tree vitality over time, yet its effect on biomass yield therefore stored carbon has been overlooked. We mapped the occurrence and calculated the extent of decayed wood in standing Ulmus procera, Platanus × acerifolia and Corymbia maculata trees. The main stem of 43 trees was measured...
Article
Full-text available
Urban and peri-urban forests provide a variety of ecosystem service benefits for urban society. Recognising and understanding the many human–tree interactions that urban forests provide may be more complex but probably just as important to our urbanised society. This paper introduces four themes that link the studies from across the globe presented...
Article
Full-text available
The clearing and burning of tropical savanna leads to globally significant emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs); however there is large uncertainty relating to the magnitude of this flux. Australia's tropical savannas occupy the northern quarter of the continent, a region of increasing interest for further exploitation of land and water resources....