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Grasslands

Terrick Terrick Plaines

What are grassland ecosystems?

Grasslands are dominated by perennial, mostly tufted or tussock-forming grasses and occur on the vast, undulating western volcanic plains, the northern alluvial plains and in Gippsland.

They frequently lie over heavy soils which become waterlogged in winter but dry and crack in summer.

While trees and shrubs are only occasionally present, they are floristically rich, not only in grasses but also in colourful plants from the orchid, daisy, pea and lily families that flower in spring and early summer.

Grassland facts

  • Kangaroo grass is dominant south of the divide, wallaby grass and spear grass abundant in the north
  • Many form ephemeral flooded native meadows in winter
  • Soil dries rapidly in summer
  • Support rare animals, adapted to changeable environment e.g. the Bush Stone-curlew, Eastern Barred Bandicoot and Striped Legless Lizard
  • Aboriginal people used fire to maintain the open nature of the grasslands, stimulate the growth of useful plants and attract animals for hunting
  • European settlers found that the expansive grasslands provided good grazing and were easy to convert to cropping and improved pasture.

Threats

Less than one per cent of original grasslands remain, in small remnant patches with low viability. These patches are threatened by:

  • Weed invasion
  • Infrequent fire regimes that inhibit growth of diverse flowering herbs
  • Altered nutrient levels that favour weed growth.

Where do I find grassland ecosystems?

Victorian native grasslands occur on the vast, undulating western volcanic plains, the northern alluvial plains and in Gippsland. The following parks help protect some of Victoria’s remaining natural grassland areas: 

Find out more

Melbourne Museum – Grasslands in Victoria – Information about some of the endangered species found in Victoria’s grasslands and a video of the special features of grasslands.

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Brimbank Park connecting with local community

14 Jul 2014

A job that would have taken Parks Victoria Rangers Kirraly and Dannica hours to complete was done in less than half an hour thanks to some new volunteer hands at Brimbank Park. It was hard rubbish collection week, and someone had decided to use a heap of materials left in…

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National Tree Day plantings

27 Jul 2014 9:30am-1:30pm

Friends of Dandenong Valley Parklands invite you to join them in planting shrubs under the trees in Shepherds Bush next to Nortons Park. BBQ lunch provided. Families welcome.

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The First Shot Commemoration

5 Aug 2014 11:00am-5:00pm

Tuesday 5 August 2014 marks the 100 year anniversary of the first shot fired in the British Empire in World War I. This shot was fired from Coastal Artillery Gun Emplacement 6 at Fort Nepean on 5 August 1914 at 12:45pm, just 3 hours 45 minutes after war was declared…

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The Melbourne Mega Bat Count

6 Aug 2014

The Grey-headed Flying-fox is the largest flying-fox (also known as a fruit bat) species in Australia. Each month the Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology conduct the monthly bat count at Yarra Bend Park at dusk on the Wednesday evening closest to the risen full moon. This data is critical…

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Heart Foundation Walking - Park Walk

6 Aug 2014 10:00am-11:00am

Enjoy the fresh air of this beautiful park and get an insight into the park’s fascinating history, flora and fauna. This free guided walk run by Friends of Tarra Bulga National Park will lead you across the famous Corrigan Suspension Bridge which stretches through the rainforest canopy, and on either…