Dynamic changes in melbourne’s urban vegetation cover-2001 to 2016

Bhuban Timalsina, Suzanne Mavoa, Amy K. Hahs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
74 Downloads (Pure)


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 Melbourne, Australia. The study investigates how vegetation cover across Melbourne has changed at five-yearly intervals from 2001 to 2016 using the newly proposed dynamic change approach that extends the net change approach to quantify the amount of vegetation gain as well as loss. We examine this question at two spatial resolutions: (1) at the municipal landscape scale to capture broadscale change regardless of land tenure; and (2) at the scale of designated public open spaces within the municipalities to investigate the extent to which the loss of vegetation has occurred on lands that are intended to provide public access to vegetated areas in the city. Vegetation was quantified at four different times (2001, 2006, 2011, 2016), using the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI). Dynamic changes of gain and loss in urban vegetation between the three periods were quantified for six local government areas (LGAs) and their associated public open spaces using a change matrix. The results showed an overall net loss of 64.5 square kilo-metres of urban vegetation from 2001 to 2016 in six LGAs. When extrapolated to the Greater Melbourne Area, this is approximately equivalent to 109 times the size of Central Park in New York City.

Original languageEnglish
Article number814
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes


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