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Grasslands

Fat-tailed Dunnart. Photo: J.Tscharke

Fat-tailed Dunnart. Photo: J.Tscharke

Photo by: Parks Victoria

Location: Grasslands

Terrick Terrick Plains. Photo: Mark Antos

Terrick Terrick Plains. Photo: Mark Antos

Photo by: Parks Victoria

Location: Grasslands

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.

More about grasslands

  • 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.

Key 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 to see grasslands

What's on

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Down to Earth

8 Apr 2017 8:00pm - 29 Apr 2017 9:30pm

This theatrical performance taking place at the historic farm in Werribee Park, is filled with history, comedy and scary elements. It is a highly entertaining and informative performance, suitable for ages 11 and above.

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Heritage Festival 2017 at Coolart

26 Apr 2017 10:00am - 16 May 2017 10:00am

Meet at Visitor Centre at 10am and 2pm on Tuesdays for a guided tour and introduction to the history of Coolart Wetlands and Homestead in Somers. Bring along a picnic lunch to enjoy in the beautiful garden.

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The Great Forest Picnic

13 May 2017 11:00am-2:00pm

Come and join in a giant picnic and spell out the word WE *heart* PARKS to show our love for parks and the unique forests of the Central Highlands.

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Melbourne Coastrek

26 May 2017 6:00am-10:00pm

Melbourne Coastrek is an annual 30km - 60km team trekking challenge held along the Mornington Peninsula's stunning coastline raising money for The Fred Hollows Foundation. Hosted by Wild Women On Top, it’s one of the most picturesque endurance events in Australia, including ocean and bay beaches and views, headlands, cliff…