Protecting precious grassland fragments


Victoria’s native grasslands have been absolutely devastated. They are the most critically endangered ecosystem now in Australia, with less than 4.5 percent of the original amount of grasslands actually left, and this was a grassland that once covered 10 percent of Victoria or some 21 000 square kilometres and we’ve probably only got a few thousand hectares now left today, so they’ve been wiped out.


Historically grasslands were really attractive to the early settlers because it meant that they could create their farms straight away. And more recently grasslands continue to be cleared for suburban development, and also for industrial development, and the little pockets that now remain are unfortunately being invaded by introduced species, a variety of weeds, things like rabbits, and I think for the future, climate change is going to be a major impact on the remaining little pockets of grassland. So if we lose these grasslands from Victoria then the whole of Australia is worse off having lost that biodiversity, that precious biodiversity that’s really adapted to Victoria’s volcanic soils.


We’ve got several endangered species. Our most iconic species is the Striped Legless Lizard, a wonderful little lizard that measures about 30cm long, and is about as thick as my little finger, and the largest known population of these lizards actually lives right on our back doorstep. To look after the habitat for the Striped Legless Lizard we’re really trying to restore the grasslands as much to their former glory as we can. So we get in and we do a lot of weeding, we do ecological burns, and obviously re-vegetation is a very important part of our work where we plant seedlings, and then monitoring is also a really important part of the work that we do here just to make sure that all of those other jobs have been done properly and are having the positive impact on the population of the Striped Legless Lizard like we’d hoped for.


Really the simplest thing you can do to help save an endangered species is to plant indigenous plants. Put these back into your garden at home and at school and you then start creating wildlife habitat for butterflies and skinks and frogs and who knows, you may even have the Striped Legless Lizard wander in from a grassland reserve to live in your garden.

Comments (11)

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elizabeth dalton 10 December, 2009 10:44
I would like a on the job training program for koori herbs and spices thanks lizzy
Discovery Centre 10 December, 2009 16:11

Hello, Lizzy. An excellent organisation to contact about the possibility of such training is the Koorie Heritage Trust. They offer a range of programs and services to the general public. For more information see their website. Hope this helps!

Anne Elizabeth 2 January, 2010 16:39
In my garden in the Dandenong Ranges I have been "weeding" out the introduced grasses - Sweet Vernal Grass, Panic Veldt etc, even removing vast swatches of Agapanthus which unfortunately have been allowed to run riot. It is inspiring to see the native grasses returning, ones I have never seen or heard of before. Velvet Tussock grass, Weepng Grass (my favourite), Poa Tenera and some Wallaby grsses, are just some of them and all are coming up all by themselves because the seeds are obviously still in the ground, just waiting for some space and room to grow. Thanks to a local landcare group I am learning lots about my own little part of Australia.
gfgfk 18 April, 2010 06:02
can you tell me about the plants there in australia?
Warren Haley 29 September, 2014 00:14
There are thousands of endemic plants. The south west of Australia is a bio-diversity hotspot. Tropical plants in the north, desert plants,woodlands and the great Tasmanian Oak and Karri forests.
Menuka Magar 21 April, 2015 00:12
can you tell me the when this video was made/update? waiting for your kind response. Thank you
Discovery Centre 25 April, 2015 11:36
Hi Menuka, this video was uploaded on the 14/7/2010. Hope that helps!
Sean 22 July, 2015 14:42
hi I've always wondered what the old building in the protected grasslands between St. Albans and deer park Melbourne is , it looks somewhat like an old farming house and I see it almost daily on my walk , can you shed any insight as to what it was used for , thanks
Discovery Centre 23 July, 2015 14:13
Hi Sean, let us see what we can find out! We will be in touch...
Katie 17 August, 2015 15:58
where in Australia are these Grasslands located ?
Discovery Centre 19 August, 2015 10:27
Hi Katie - this video refers specifically to Victorian grasslands. Parks Victoria has a web page that gives some suggested conservation reserves where you can see examples of this ecosystem.
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About this Video

Mel Doherty, Victoria University at St Albans, demonstrates some of the special features of Melbourne’s grasslands.
Length: 02:27