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Maribyrnong River view

Ecosystems are generally recognised by the characteristic vegetation they support. Victoria’s land area supports a wider range of ecosystems than any area of a similar size in Australia: alpine, mallee, grasslands and grassy woodlands, forests, heathlands and heathy woodlands, inland waters and estuaries, and coasts.

This richness, in the number of different ecosystems and different species, and the genetic variety they exhibit — is what we call biodiversity.

Parks play a crucial role in protecting Victoria’s ecosystems including the numerous habitats, floral and faunal communities and ecosystem services (e.g. clean air, clean water) they support.

Parks protect 93 per cent of Victoria’s native flora species and 86 per cent of native fauna species. Our ecosystems are a scientific, cultural, spiritual and economic inheritance that is distinctly Victorian, and one that we must conserve and manage for future generations.

Victoria’s marine environment is shaped by the high energy cool waters of the Southern Ocean and the relatively calmer but warmer waters of the south-western Pacific and have developed independently from other major marine regions of the world which has resulted in many species being found nowhere else.  

Victorian natural ecosystems support at least:

  • 3140 native species of vascular plants
  • 900 lichens
  • 750 mosses and liverworts
  • 111 mammals
  • 447 birds
  • 46 freshwater and 600 marine fish
  • 133 reptiles
  • 33 amphibians
  • an untold number of invertebrates, fungi and algae.
  • More than 12,000 species of marine animals and plants, most of which are found nowhere else in the world.

Find out more

The alps

The alps are characterised by granite and sandstone peaks with rounded mountain tops and plateaus. The highest mountain areas support a rich mosaic of...


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...


Heathlands are characterised by dense, low shrubs with scattered, twisted trees – a function of the harshness of the environment where they occur. They support...

The mallee

Mallee ecosystems take their name from the small, multi-stemmed eucalypts which feature lignotubers (mallee roots) just below the soil surface, which store carbohydrates and water,...

Dry forests and woodlands

There are many types of dry forests and woodlands occurring across the drier northern slopes of the Great Divide, as well as in Victorian foothills,...

Wet forests and rainforest

The cool mountains and gullies of ranges in southern, central and north-eastern Victoria as well as areas at lower elevations are dominated by wet eucalypt...

Inland waters and wetlands

Victoria has a rich variety of inland and estuarine aquatic environments, including flowing waters such as creeks, streams and rivers; and standing waters such as...

The coast

Often lashed by the wind laden with salt spray, the coast is very dynamic and a difficult environment for living things, with some of its...


A useful way to distinguish and manage the marine ecosystem is by marine habitats and the animals and plants typical of these areas. A marine...