Native Vegetation and Habitats

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Introduction

The Corangamite Region is covered by five ecological zones (Bio-regions), these are the Victorian Volcanic Plain, the Otway Plain, the Otway Ranges, the Warrnambool Plain and the Central Victorian Uplands. Each of these zones have vegetation communities that reflect the conditions within these zones.

Native vegetation is a fundamental part of the landscape. It is an important element in all ecological processes and it plays a major part in our everyday lives. The region’s native vegetation requires proper management, at both a regional, local and site-specific scale to ensure its survival.

Native vegetation in the Corangamite region has undergone a major change since European settlement, with less than 25% of the region’s original vegetation remaining. Native grasslands and grassy woodlands have been reduced to an estimated 1% of their former extent. The region has significant areas of remnant vegetation in protected reserves such as National Parks but most of the estimated 66,000 hectares of remnants on private land are under some form of pressure. These changes are most evident in areas that have been cleared for agriculture.

The loss of native vegetation has contributed to the main natural resource management problems in the region. Loss of biodiversity, salinity, soil erosion, poor water quality and the spread of exotic species are just some of the problems that have emerged. As well as aesthetic and landscape significance, native vegetation is a vital component in the sustainability of our landscapes and a key factor in the functioning of natural ecosystems.

The Wadawurrung Healthy Country Plan says “Our inland country includes western volcanic plains and grasslands, with their temperate grasslands and grassy eucalypt woodlands once had enough food and resources for us to live here permanently all year in our stone huts as a community in family groups. The grasslands were full of food grasses, and our women harvested roots and tubers, like Murnong and bulbine lily with their digging sticks. Our Country is home to many different types of snakes, lizards, frogs, moths, birds and mammals. Kwenda (Bandicoot) or Yoorn (spotted tail quoll) was once here as was the eastern barred bandicoot who helped our women in digging and tilling the soil to increase the growth of Murnong, helping our women to till the soil but now are extinct or rarely seen in this landscape.”