What is the Status of Native Vegetation in the Wimmera?
Widespread clearing for agricultural development since European settlement has resulted in a drastic change in the Wimmera's native vegetation cover, with around 85 percent now cleared. This exceeds the state figure of around 60 percent cleared. The following two maps show the change in vegetation since European Settlement:
Pre-European Settlement Vegetation Cover Map (961.66 kB)
Current Vegetation Cover Map (1.02 MB)
Today, most of the Wimmera’s remaining native vegetation can be found in the region’s 600 parks and reserves and 20 state forest blocks, including the Grampians and Little Desert National Parks, Black Range and Mt Arapiles-Tooan State Parks and numerous small flora and fauna, wildlife and bushland blocks. These areas play an important conservation role.
Less than one percent of private land supports remnant native vegetation, including many good examples of forests, woodlands, grasslands and seasonal wetlands. In many areas, these vegetation remnants represent the last remaining examples of some of the region’s original vegetation communities.
Examples of significant Wimmera vegetation species include Buloke trees which provide important habitat for the endangered Red-tailed Black Cockatoo and the Grampians Pin‑Cushion Lily, which is one of the most endangered species in Victoria known from only a handful of plants at a site in the Grampians.
Why is Native Vegetation Important?
Because so much has been cleared, all remaining vegetation is considered to be highly significant. It is important to retain native vegetation in the landscape for a variety of reasons.
For example, it:
- Is an important aspect of the region’s natural heritage and character,
- Improves overall environmental health by providing valuable habitat for native plants and animals, preventing wind and water erosion and keeping saline groundwater tables low, and
- Can contribute to agricultural productivity, for example, by providing shelter for stock and habitat for bird species that control pests.
Where clearing has occurred, it has often contributed to significant problems such as extinction of plant and animal species, habitat loss, rising groundwater and erosion.
A great publication on the value of native vegetation is the Wimmera CMA published booklet:
Tangible Benefits of Native Vegetation (2005) (3.64 MB)
Another relevant download is a guide to Buloke Woodlands flora and fauna. Bulokes are a true Wimmera Icon.
Guide to Buloke Woodlands Flora and Fauna (1.64 MB)
What is the Wimmera CMA doing in relation to protecting and managing Native Vegetation?
Wimmera CMA’s main objectives for native vegetation are to prevent its further decline and to produce an overall gain in its area and quality.
Some of the ways that Wimmera CMA is working to achieve these objectives include:
- By undertaking market based instrument projects such as Habitat Tender
- Providing financial support to organisations such as Greening Australia, Trust for Nature and Landcare Networks
- Providing financial support to implement projects that provide advice and financial assistance to landholders to protect remnant vegetation and carry out revegetation works on private land
- Undertaking research to provide the information necessary for making better management decisions.