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.
- 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.
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:
- Terrick Terrick National Park
- Craigieburn Grassland Nature Conservation Reserve
- Derrimut Grassland Nature Conservation Reserve
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.
31 Dec 2014
Visitors to national parks and state forests during the new year holiday are being urged by the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) and Parks Victoria to be extra vigilant with campfire safety ahead of the extreme heat forecast for the weekend. It is important people are aware of…
31 Jan 2015 8:00am-9:00am
parkrun is free, weekly, 5km timed run that is open to everyone - walkers, runners, families, prams and dogs are all welcome! Westerfolds parkrun occurs every Saturday morning. We're based near the main carpark off the Fitzsimons Lane entrance, and the course is run entirely on sealed paths within the…
6 Feb 2015 7:00pm-11:00pm
Fun, low key Mountain Bike racing suitable for all MTB racers and and special 1 & 2hr events for juniors (12yrs and over). Lights are mandatory for the 2hr & 3hr events.
15 Feb 2015 10:00am-3:00pm
Tour the heritage orchard at Werribee Park, and see how it has improved since its state of neglect five years ago. Watch tree-grafting demonstrations Buy heritage fruit trees Talk to experts in gardening and fruit growing Eat, drink and be merry – the CWA will be preparing food and drinks…
22 Feb 2015 10:00am-6:30pm
On Sunday, 22 February 2015 the City of Wyndham will host an outstanding line up of musical talent for Live on the Lawn at Werribee Park. The event will feature the talents of renowned country musicians - including Golden Guitarist Lee Kernaghan, singer-songwriter-story teller Kasey Chambers, singer-songwriter Adam Brand and…