The Corangamite region is home to fauna species that are unique to the area, many of which are dependent on the natural assets such as native vegetation, waterways and wetlands. Unfortunately, the region has more than 300 species classified as ‘threatened’ in Victoria.
Many species have evolved over thousands of years and will not have the ability to adapt to what will be a climate that is changing in a relatively short timeframe and as a result, changes to the distribution of species is expected to occur. A climate that is hotter and drier will lead to other indirect impacts, such as changes to natural fire and flooding regimes. An increase in these events may have direct impacts on already small, localised populations.
The survival of threatened flora and fauna and ecological communities depends a great deal on the health of native vegetation and the continuing existence of other important habitats.
The Wadawurrung Healthy Country Plan says “Native animals are all the animals that are indigenous and belong to Wadawurrung Country. It includes mammals like echidna and spotted-tailed quoll, birds like Porronggitj (brolga), emu, amphibians like frogs, reptiles like snakes, fish and eels. It also includes insects like butterflies, ants and spiders.
There are many animals that used to be found on Wadawurrung Country but aren’t any more like dingoes and bilbies. All these animals are important because together with the plants and people they make Country healthy.”
Assessment of current condition and trends
Native fauna is highly reliant on the habitat provided by native vegetation and its area and quality often being a determinant of what species will occur there. It is fair to say that the trend for native fauna has generally been on a downward trajectory since large scale land clearing has occurred with the majority of our native fauna occurring in protected areas or in locations that are not readily accessed by competition or predators. Within National Parks and reserves sustainable populations of native fauna have generally been maintained.
DELWP’s Biodiversity Response Planning (BRP) is a new state-wide, area-based approach to biodiversity conservation. It has been designed to strengthen alignment, collaboration and participation between government agencies, Traditional Owners, non-government agencies (NGOs) and the community. Response planning in each area shares the same key elements:
- Situation analysis (looking at what the current state of biodiversity and its threats are in each region),
- Cataloguing what actions are currently taking place (a list of who’s doing what work where),
- Gap analysis (looking for what’s missing and what else needs to be done),
- Discussing options (everyone in the network will talk about possible actions to take), and
- Determining priorities (what’s the most urgent thing to address).
The BRP maps will guide where biodiversity actions should occur, whether this is through voluntary efforts or as a result of future investment by the Government or other sources. The maps of agreed priorities and other outputs of these collaborative processes will be publicly available and regularly updated. The aim of BRP is to get the overall best possible outcome for all biodiversity. Biodiversity Response Planning is how DELWP is implementing Victoria’s plan for Biodiversity, Protecting Victoria’s Environment – Biodiversity 2037, in different places.
Major threats and drivers of change
The major threats and drivers of change for the region’s native fauna is the loss of and deterioration of habitat. Urban encroachment has also had a major impact by some urban animal populations becoming problematic because of their impacts on amenity or their role as vectors of disease. Urban growth has been shown to cause overall reductions in the distributions of birds. Another result of urbanization is that animals are increasingly exposed to urban boundaries with different edge contrasts.
Introduced animals have also had a major impact by either preying on native fauna or competing with it for food and habitat. Predation by foxes is a major threat to fauna and many wetland bird species, particularly ground-nesting birds.
Desired outcomes for the future
6 Year Regional Outcome
Maintenance of, or net gain where possible in all species with positive % Change in Suitable Habitat expected over 6 years from sustained improved management
Wadawurrung Healthy Country Plan goals
By 2030, no more of our native animals have become threatened.
By 2035, at least one threatened species is no longer threatened.