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.
27 Mar 2015
Visitors to Wilsons Promontory National Park this Easter will see works are underway to replace the old ‘Lorikeet Flats’ accommodation. The previous flats were demolished following the 2011 floods. District Manager, Graeme Baxter said it was exciting to see the $1.8 million project underway which will see ten new family-friendly…
1 Apr 2015 - 30 Apr 2015
A wide variety of events are held at Albert Park throughout the year. Events range from fun runs and sporting tournaments to other community events. See the full calendar here.
19 Apr 2015 10:00am-4:00pm
Discover Kurth Kiln Regional Park this April at the Friends of Kurth Kiln Heritage Festival. Only a short drive from Melbourne, Kurth Kiln was built during the Second World War to create charcoal to power motor vehicles. The event will be held on April 19, and include demonstrations including a…
19 Apr 2015 1:00pm-2:00pm
Anzac Memorial Ceremony.
23 Apr 2015 5:30pm-10:00pm
Woodlands Historic Park comes to life at dusk with kangaroos, wallabies, possums and other wildlife springing into action.We will be looking out for the Eastern Barred Bandicoots and learning about the program to save them from extinction. We start the evening with a light dinner under the stars before heading…