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.
28 Oct 2014
Children and their families are invited to get into nature and join the fun activities at Wilsons Promontory this Cup Weekend from 1-3 November 2014. Parks Victoria’s Discovery Program is designed to encourage kids and adults to explore Victoria’s parks with a ranger. Highlights of the Cup Weekend program include:…
1 Nov 2014 8:00am-9:00am
parkrun is free, weekly, 5km timed run that is open to everyone - walkers, runners, families 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 park.
1 Nov 2014 12:30pm - 3 Nov 2014 4:30pm
Get to know Wilsons Promontory National Park with a Ranger on a Discovery walk or activity on Melbourne Cup Long Weekend from 1-3 November 2014. A range of activities are available including Junior Ranger activities for 6-12 year olds, StoryTime activities for pre-school age children and guided walks, presentations and…
3 Nov 2014 8:00am - 6 Nov 2014 5:00pm
Make a big difference at Little Desert! Learn about the endangered Mallefowl recovery program, support wildlife monitoring and encounter a range of native wildlife species held at the Little Desert Sanctuary including Suger Gliders, Bruh-tailed Bettongs and Bush-stone Curlews.
3 Nov 2014 8:30am - 6 Nov 2014 5:30pm
We will take you behind the scenes on this exclusive, small group adventure as you work alongside a Parks Victoria Ranger to 'track and protect' the elusive Brush-tailed Phascogales, which are on Victoria's threatened species list. You will sample some of the region's best wines, see ancient Aboriginal rock art…