Dave Kendal

My broad research interest is to understand the drivers and effect of management on ‘nature’ (mostly plants), through specific investigations focused on conservation reserves, botanic gardens, urban parks, streetscapes and residential gardens, using approaches from both the natural and social sciences. I measure and document the effect of management actions on ecosystems by quantifying patterns of vegetation structure and the diversity of species and traits. I ask people (both the general public and land managers, conceived broadly) about the ways they perceive and value nature, and about the things that influence the land management decisions they make. This mechanistic approach allows me to explain how and why people shape the nature they live with, and how this nature is influencing people. This research is useful for informing land management policy, for understanding how people shape ecosystems, and for understanding the benefits of interactions between nature and people.

email: dkendal at unimelb.edu.au
twitter: @davekendal
phone: +61 3 8344 0267

Current projects

The Culture of Weeds: An ARC linkage project put together by Libby Robin (ANU) and Joslin Moore (Monash University, previously at ARCUE) broadly exploring the relationship between Australian society and invasive plants and animals, with a specific focus on the role of gardening in the introduction of environmental weeds. with Libby Robin (Fenner School ANU), Joslin Moore. and Cameron Muir (Fenner School ANU).

Awareness of threatened ecological species and communities on public and private land in western Victoria: A project with the Glenelg Hopkins and Corangamite Catchment Management Authorities to explore how values and beliefs influence landholder and land user awareness of the EPBC act and its obligations.

The community values of public land in Victoria: A research consultancy with the Victorian Department of Sustainability Environment to develop a methodology to assess the way the community values ‘natural’ public land in Victoria. with Rebecca Ford (University of Melbourne).

Urban Forest Values: Through projects with the City of Melbourne, and the Shire of Nillumbik, we are exploring the different ways that people value the urban forest.

Recent projects

Australian Native Grasslands: Guiding Landscapes and Communities in Transition: A project funded by the Myer Foundation, exploring how management values are shaping Australia’s native grasslands through combined social and ecological research. with John Morgan (La Trobe), Ian Lunt (CSU), Joslin Moore (RBG ARCUE) and Mark McDonnell (RBG ARCUE).

Future directions and new approaches for urban biodiversity conservation: A project funded by the National Environmental Research Program (NERP) bringing together leading early career researchers from the University of Melbourne, Australian National University, University of Queensland, RMIT and University of Western Australia

Gardening beyond our boundary: A project funded by the Friends’ of the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne Helen McLellan Research Grant, exploring how the Australian Garden at the Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne is influencing the gardeners of the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne through flora surveys of residential gardens and social surveys of residents, with Sharon Willoughby (RBG Cranbourne)


Lily Pearce

Alison Farrar

Current Students

Alison Farrar – Social evaluations and ecological outcomes of management practices in urban grassland reserves

Brendan Champness – Social factors influencing urban birds

Gary Veale

Recent Students

Tanja Straka – Urban wetlands for bats and people 

Cynnamon Dobbs Brown – Urban landscape structure and the provision of ecosystem services at multiple scales: Understanding socio-ecological patterns shaping the development of sustainable cities

Chiyedza Kuruneri-Chitepo – Exploring land managers’ understanding of diversity in the urban forest of greater Melbourne

Virginia Harris – How are the social and ecological values assigned to urban parks and gardens related to public preference for green spaces?


Recent publications

Ives, C. D., Lentini, P. E., Threlfall, C. G., Ikin, K., Shanahan, D. F., Garrard, G. E., Bekessy, S. A., Fuller, R. A., Mumaw, L., Rayner, L., Rowe, R., Valentine, L. E., & Kendal, D. (2016). Cities are hotspots for threatened species. Global Ecology and Biogeography Vol 25, Issue 1 Pages 1 – 126 Article first published online: 7 DEC 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/geb.12404

Kendal, D., Ford, R. M., Anderson, N. M., & Farrar, A. (2015). The VALS: A new tool to measure people’s general valued attributes of landscapes. Journal of Environmental Management, 163, 224–233.

Kendal, D.; Pearce, L. M.; Morgan, J. W., Lunt, I. D.; Zeeman, B. J.; Farrar, A.; Griffiths, K. E.; McDonnell, M. J.; 2015, Melbourne’s Native Grasslands: Guiding landscapes and communities in transition, Project report. Available here: MelbournesNativeGrasslands-2015-05-01 Web

Various datasets collected on Melbourne’s grasslands available here: https://dataverse.harvard.edu/dataverse/MelbourneGrasslands

Dobbs, C., Nitschke, C.R. and Kendal, D. (2014). Global Drivers and Tradeoffs of Three Urban Vegetation Ecosystem Services PLOS One Vol 9, 11.

Ives, C. D. & Kendal, D. (2014) The role of social values in the management of ecological systems, Journal of Environmental Management, 144, 67-72

Kendal, D. Dobbs, C., & Lohr, V. (2014) Global patterns of diversity in the urban forest: is there evidence to support the 10/20/30 rule? Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 13, 411-417

Kendal, D., & McDonnell, M. J., (2014) Adapting Urban Forests to Climate ChangeCityGreen #8, pp 130-137.

Dobbs, C., Kendal, D., & Nitschke, C. (2014). Multiple ecosystem services and disservices of the urban forest establishing their connections with landscape structure and sociodemographicsEcological Indicators, 43, 44–55. 

Willoughby, S., Kendal, D., & Farrar, A. (2013). Public places and private spaces measuring the influence of botanic gardens on domestic gardeners. Roots: Botanic Gardens Conservation International Education Review, 10(2).

Kendal, D., Hauser, C. E., Garrard, G. E., Jellinek, S., Giljohann, K. M., Moore, J. L., (2013) Quantifying plant colour and colour difference as perceived by humans using digital images, PLOS ONE Vol 8, Issue 8, pp 1-11

Ives, C. D., Beilin, R., Gordon, A., Kendal, D., Hahs, A. K., & Mcdonnell, M. J. (2013). Local Assessment of Melbourne: The Biodiversity and Social-Ecological Dynamics of Melbourne, Australia. In T. Elmqvist, M. Fragkias, J. Goodness, B. Güneralp, P. J. Marcotullio, R. I. McDonald, … C. Wilkinson (Eds.), Urbanization, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Challenges and Opportunities (pp. 385–407). Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands.

Dobbs, C., Kendal, D., & Nitschke, C. (2013). The effects of land tenure and land use on the urban forest structure and composition of Melbourne. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 12, pp. 417-415.

Christopher Ives and Dave Kendal (2013) Values and attitudes of the urban public towards peri-urban agricultural land. Land Use Policy 34 80-90.

Kendal, D., Williams, N.S.G. & Williams, K.J.H. (2012). Drivers of diversity and tree cover in gardens, parks and streetscapes in an Australian city. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 11, pp.257–265.

Kendal, D., Williams, K.J.H. & Williams, N.S.G., 2012. Plant traits link people’s plant preferences to the composition of their gardens. Landscape and Urban Planning, 105, pp.34-42.

Kendal, D., Williams, N.S.G. & Williams, K.J.H., 2012. A cultivated environment: exploring the global distribution of plants in gardens, parks and streetscapes. Urban Ecosystems, 15, pp. 637-652.

Kendal, D., 2011. Potential effects of climate change on Melbourne’s street trees and some implications for human and non-human animals. In Proceedings of the 2011 State of Australian Cities Conference. Melbourne.

Rayner, J.P. & Kendal, D.J., 2011. Experiences in teaching horticultural plants and the use of eResource materials. Acta Horticulturae, 920 (33-38).

Kendal, D., Williams, N. & Williams, K., 2010. Harnessing diversity in gardens through individual decision makers. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 25(4), pp.201-202.

Kendal, D., Williams, K. & Armstrong, L., 2008. Preference for and performance of some Australian native plants grown as hedges. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 7(2), pp.93–106.

Kendal, D., 2007. Measuring distances using digital cameras. Australian Senior Mathematics Journal, 21(2), pp.24-28.