agricultural, environmental and indigenous
values and management for the future
This document was commissioned by the Natural Resources Advisory Council (NRAC) for the community and land managers of NSW. NRAC was established by the NSW Government in 2004 as a single source of integrated stakeholder advice on high level natural resources management (NRM) and land use issues. NRAC is chaired by an independent Convenor, Phyllis Miller OAM, who reports on behalf of NRAC to the Minister for Climate Change and the Environment.
Natural Resources Advisory CouncilPhyllis Miller OAM Convenor
Russ Ainley OAM NSW Forest Products Association Jeff Angel OAM Total Environment Centre
Averil Bones World Wide Fund for Nature Australia Pepe Clarke Nature Conservation Council of NSW Mark Dangerfield Scientific Representative
Allan Ezzy Local Government Association of NSW
Pam Green Catchment Management Authorities
Harry Goring Unions NSW
Janet Hayes Shires Association of NSW
Hans Heilpern Fisheries Management Sector Peter Jensen Planning Institute of Australia
Mark King Catchment Management Authorities
Jock Laurie NSW Farmers Association
Pam Moore OAM Country Women’s Association of NSW
Warren Mundine NTSCORP NSW
Penny Olsen Birds Australia
Marie Russell AM Livestock Health and Pest Authorities Stephen Ryan NSW Aboriginal Land Council
Chris Scott NSW Landcare Committee
Sue-Ern Tan NSW Minerals Council
Col Thomson NSW Irrigators’ Council
Stephen Turner Unions NSW
James Christian Chief Executive Officer, Aboriginal Affairs NSW
Lisa Corbyn Director General, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water Sam Haddad Director General, Department of Planning
Richard Sheldrake Director General, Industry & Investment NSW
Warwick Watkins Chief Executive Officer, Land and Property Management Authority
The original report Native Grasslands of NSW – Environmental, Indigenous and Agricultural Values
and Sustainable Management was prepared on behalf on NRAC by Eco Logical Australia Pty Ltd.
Abridgement of the original document was undertaken by IRP Environmental Consultants Pty Ltd, with the assistance of Mary Goodacre, David Marsh, Penny Olsen, Robert Irvine and Karen Greenhill under the management of NRAC’s Sustainable Resource and Conservation Standing Committee, chaired by Jeff Angel. Thanks also to the Botanic Gardens Trust, John Benson, Jaime Plaza, Royal Botanic Gardens (Sydney), Lachlan Copeland, Phil Gilmore, Mary Goodacre, Sue Hudson, Bruce Mullins, Ederic Slater, Tieneke Trotter and Rainer Rehwinkel for their great photographs. Cover image: Silky Browntop Eulalia aurea (Image: Mary Goodacre)
Opposite page: Bluegrass stand Dicanthium sp. (Image: Mary Goodacre)
While every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that this document is accurate at the time of printing, the State of New South Wales, its agents and employees do not assume any responsibility and shall have no liability, consequential or otherwise, of any kind, arising from the use of or reliance on any of the information contained in this document.
Acknowledgements . . . .ii
Minister’s Foreword. . . .2
Executive Summary . . . .3
1. Introduction . . . .4
What is Native Grassland. . . .4
How did Native Grasslands Develop . . . .5
2. Native Grasslands in NSW. . . .6
Grassland Types . . . .6
Natural Native Grasslands . . . .8
Derived Native Grasslands . . . .9
Change in Extent and Condition of Native Grasslands . . . .10
Threats to Native Grasslands . . . .11
3. Protection of Native Grasslands in NSW . . . .13
Grassland Reserves . . . .13
Legislative Protection of Grassland Communities. . . .13
Legislative Protection of Threatened Grassland Flora . . . .14
4. Agricultural Values of Native Grasslands in NSW . . . 15
Drought Tolerance . . . .15
Case Study:Native Pastures and Planned Grazing for Managing Drought. . . .16
Year Round Forage . . . .17
Low input Production. . . .17
Frost Tolerance . . . .17
Finer Wool. . . .17
Environmental Services . . . 18
Case Study: Competition between Serrated Tussock and Native Pastures . . . .19
5. Faunal Values of Native Grasslands in NSW . . . .20
Grassland Mammals. . . .20
Grassland Birds . . . .22
Grassland Reptiles . . . .23
Grassland Frogs. . . .24
Grassland Invertebrates . . . .25
6. Aboriginal Values of Native Grasslands in NSW . . . .26
Grasslands as a Source of Food. . . .26
Value of Grassland Species . . . .26
Cultural Significance . . . .27
Country . . . .28
7. Sustainable Management of Native Grasslands . . . .29
Best Practice Grazing Management . . . .30
Grazing to Increase Diversity . . . .30
Better Planning and Partnering: From Properties to Catchments. . . .30
Case Study: CMAs Partnering with Land Managers to Protect Native Grasslands. . . .31
Case Study: A Community Group Makes a Difference. . . .32
Restoration of Native Grasslands and Native Grasses. . . .33
Addressing Climate Change. . . .33
Case Study: Research Improves Management of Grazed Grasslands for Threatened Species . .34
Useful Sources of Information on Native Grasslands. . . .35
Native grasslands are a precious part of the natural heritage of NSW. These grasslands are integral to the ecological integrity of NSW and an important part of Aboriginal peoples’ cultural heritage. They can also provide the basis for sustainable agriculture.
The majority of native grasslands in NSW are located on private land. The sustainable management of native grasslands can yield positive results for both conservation and production in our State.
The range of benefits to the agricultural industry from changes in land management practices for native grasslands include a naturally drought tolerant source of fodder supply year round, fine higher quality fleece production and lower inputs by land managers. Sustainable management practices also provide environmental
services by supporting increased biodiversity, sequestration of carbon in soil and improved water infiltration rates into the soil.
This booklet aims to raise awareness of the nature, values and condition of the native grassland ecosystems of NSW, and by doing so encourage the sustainable management of this valued natural resource. The Natural Resources Advisory Council is to be commended for developing this booklet and I encourage land managers, conservationists, government agencies and the community to work together to better protect and utilise our native grasslands.
The Hon Frank Sartor MP
Minister for Climate Change and the
This booklet is intended as an introduction to the grasslands of NSW, their agricultural, environmental and indigenous significance, the threats they face and the improvements in management that will help to maintain or improve their values.
Grasslands may be either natural native grasslands, those likely to have occurred prior to European settlement, or derived native grasslands, created through clearing of woodlands and forests. There are
over 60 distinct natural native grassland communities in NSW. These often occur on floodplains with fertile soils and, hence, they have been extensively cleared for cultivation and cropping. The largest remaining areas of natural native grasslands occur on the northern basalt plains around Moree and Walgett, the Liverpool Plains south-west of Tamworth, and the Monaro on the Southern Tablelands. Small, high quality, examples remain in the travelling
stock route network, road and rail verges, cemeteries and churchyards. Derived native grasslands are about ten times more extensive than natural grasslands.
Native grasslands are a valuable resource in NSW. They provide fodder for stock, a cultural resource for Aboriginal people, and habitat for plants and animals. Healthy grasslands are important providers of ecological services such as productive soils, water infiltration rates into the soil and carbon storage.
Native grasslands underpin the NSW livestock industry. Many rural communities recognise the range of values of native grasslands, which include the provision of palatable native grasses year-round, drought tolerance, and the control of soil erosion, salinity and acidity. Adoption of more sustainable grazing management practices such as non-continuous grazing (e.g. rotational
or tactical grazing) has often improved productivity and increased farm income. Native grasslands support a range of specialist flora and fauna species, of which nearly 100 are listed as either endangered or vulnerable under state and/or national legislation. Seven native grassland communities are themselves listed as threatened.
Aboriginal people value native grasslands as part of country, the setting for nomadic journeys, ceremonial grounds and plants and animals used for food. Traditional Aboriginal land management over the past 40,000 to 150,000 years, particularly the frequent use of low-intensity fire, is likely to have affected the evolution of native grasslands in NSW.
Extent, condition and
The extent of natural grasslands has
diminished dramatically in the last 150 years, the condition of most of those remaining is poor and they are under-represented in the formal conservation reserve system. Derived native grasslands, on the other hand, are widespread in eastern NSW and have recently been recognised for their ecological value. Both types of grassland have considerable potential for restoration to a more productive and resilient state.
Protection of grasslands relies on action by governments, industry and individual land managers. There is a need for targeted protection of the more endangered grassland communities. Elsewhere, much can be achieved by restoration of grasslands and extension of specific grassland management practices, such as appropriate alternative grazing regimes and strategic use of low intensity fire, already employed by some managers of private lands and reserves.
What is Native Grassland
Grasslands are defined as plant communities where grass species are the dominant or tallest layer of vegetation and woody species (trees and shrubs) are sparse or absent. An area can be described as native grassland if more than 50% of the vegetative ground cover is native grass and herb species. Exotic species are often present. Where trees or large shrubs exist, they are separated on average by at least 20 crown widths (the average width of the canopy of the trees). Low ground cover may occur during drought, or after fire or heavy grazing. At these times, native species can persist in the soil seed bank. In good seasons grasslands can exhibit a dense cover of up to 100%.
Native grasslands are dynamic ecosystems that are generally stimulated and maintained by disturbances such as fire and grazing. They usually comprise a mix of long-lived perennial grasses and herbs, and a variety of short-lived annual or biannual species. The mix can vary markedly with climate, season, weather conditions and grazing intensity.
Native grassland can be either:
● Natural native grassland, which is likely
to have existed at the time of European settlement; or
● Derived native grassland, which has been
created by clearing of trees and drainage of wetlands.
Native grasslands often integrate with other vegetation types, most notably grassy woodland, which has a grassy understorey but greater tree cover, and pasture and crops, which are dominated by exotic species. Areas where native grassland plants are present but more then 50% of species or 50% of grass cover is exotic, or both, are often Native grasses and grasslands have long been
a cornerstone of the ecology and economy of NSW. They provide critical habitat for native flora and fauna and country for Aboriginal people. They underpin the pastoral industry and contribute to our state and national economies. The extent of pre-European grasslands has diminished greatly, and most grasslands have deteriorated in condition, with consequences for production and nature conservation. Yet, many grasslands are
resilient systems with considerable capacity for recovery. Better knowledge and changing attitudes to their management offer great potential for their improvement over time. This booklet aims to promote awareness, understanding and improved management of the native grasslands of NSW. It presents basic information on the identification of grasslands, their values, protection and sustainable management.
How did Native Grasslands Develop
3. Colonial Reduction
Temperate grasslands and grassy woodlands, with their fertile soils, were the first
vegetation types to experience agricultural transformation by European settlers. At the same time, large areas of derived grasslands were created mainly by the removal of woodland and forest.
4. Contemporary Modification and Conservation
Since the 1970s, improved understanding of grassland values and services has resulted in active conservation of native grasslands. Local conservation initiatives are improving the condition of remnant grasslands, and assisting their return in parts of their former distribution.
Four main stages in grassland evolution in NSW have been identified.
They provide important background for understanding the current state of
NSW grasslands and their conservation and management requirements.1. Pre-Aboriginal Expansion
Grasses (species in the family Poaceae) first occur in the Australian fossil record about 70 million years ago. Their appearance can be attributed to the continent’s slow migration north into drier latitudes.
2. Aboriginal Expansion
Aboriginal people arrived as long ago as 150,000 years. Their activities, particularly the use of low-intensity fire for food gathering, have influenced grassland evolution and expansion.
Native Grasslands in NSW
Native grassland in NSW will generally belong to one of four major grassland
types: the tussock, hummock, maritime and temperate grasslands.
Nested within these broader categories are the 67 native grassland
communities currently recognised in NSW.
Inland tussock grassland with Neverfail (Eragrostis setifolia)
(Image: Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney)
Hummock grassland with Porcupine Grass (Triodia scariosa)
(Image: Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney)
Inland tussock grasslands
occur in central and western NSW. Mitchell grasses (Astrebla), lovegrasses (Eragrostis) and wiregrasses (Aristida) are the dominant grasses.
occur mainly in western NSW and are characterised by spinifex grasses (various species of Triodia).
are the most extensive grasslands in NSW, being widespread across the tablelands, slopes and plains. They are tussock grasslands characterised by Kangaroo Grass (Themeda), wallaby grasses (Stipa), and tussock and snowgrasses (Poa).
Another significant but less extensive group of grasslands occupy the margins of inland wetlands and watercourses. They are broadly described as swamp grasslands. Examples of swamp grassland are the Water Couch (Paspalum distichum) marsh grassland of flooded inland watercourses and the artesian mound springs community, the latter listed as Endangered in NSW.
Temperate grassland with Plains Grass (Austrostipa aristiglumis)
(Image: John Benson, Botanic Gardens Trust)
Water Couch (Paspalum distichum) grassland, an example of swamp grassland
(Image: Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney) Maritime grassland with coastal Kangaroo Grass
(Image: Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney)
are largely confined to coastal headlands, particularly in northern NSW.
Various species of couch (Sporobolus) are the dominant grasses.
Natural Native Grasslands
Natural native grasslands are grasslands that had sparse or no trees or shrubs at the time of European settlement. Natural grasslands are primarily located on the major floodplains of NSW. Hence, over the last 150 years these relatively flat and fertile lands have been turned to agricultural production and their original extent is difficult to
ascertain. Cultivation and cropping have had a major impact on these communities, which are now uncommon and fragmented.
Natural grasslands can also occur on undulating basalt landscapes of the cool-temperate and alpine parts of the tablelands; these landscapes are particularly found in
The estimated overall distribution of each of the main types of natural native grasslands in NSW. Examples of the various grassland types occur within the range indicated by the appropriate colour, but they do not occur continuously over all the coloured zone.
© Eco Logical Australia Pty. Ltd. This map is not guaranteed to be free from error or omission. Eco Logical Australia Pty. Ltd. and its employees disclaim liability for any act done on the information in the map and any consequences of such acts or omissions.
Data on this map is copyright and supplied by: Department of Environment Climate Change and Water.
Derived Native Grasslands
Derived native grasslands have been created where forests, woodlands, or arid shrublands have been cleared or largely cleared of woody cover, or where wetlands have been drained. Derived native grassland communities are widespread and common in eastern NSW, dominating the undulating tablelands, slopes and plains of the sheep-wheat belt. The total area of derived grasslands is over 10 times that of the remaining area of natural native grasslands.
Derived grasslands are increasingly being recognised for their ecological value and potential for restoration. For example, the “White Box - Yellow Box - Blakely’s Red Gum Grassy Woodland and Derived Native Grassland” community is listed nationally as Critically Endangered.
The estimated overall distribution of derived native grasslands in NSW according to region. Examples of derived native grasslands occur within the range indicated by the appropriate colour, but they do not occur continuously over the coloured zone.
Derived grassland (Bothricochola decipens) on basalt hills on the mid slopes of the western Liverpool Range (Image: Jaime Plaza, Botanic Gardens Trust)
© Eco Logical Australia Pty. Ltd. This map is not guaranteed to be free from error or omission. Eco Logical Australia Pty. Ltd. and its employees disclaim liability for any act done on the information in the map and any consequences of such acts or omissions.
Data on this map is copyright and supplied by: Department of Environment Climate Change and Water.
Change in Extent and Condition
of Native Grasslands
Grassy ecosystems were once a major feature in the landscape of NSW. In western NSW, natural native grassland once covered more than 3.7 million hectares, almost half of which has been removed or replaced since European settlement. Elsewhere in NSW, natural native grasslands are now uncommon, and historical changes in their extent are poorly documented.
Few of the lowland native grasslands (i.e. non-alpine grasslands) of central and western NSW remain in original condition and they rank among Australia’s most threatened ecosystems. Indeed, less than 1% of temperate native grasslands remaining in eastern Australia are considered to be in an unmodified condition. The less modified areas are in small parcels of public land such as road and railway easements, travelling stock routes and cemeteries.
Derived native grasslands have increased in extent but they too have declined in condition. Loss of condition means that the relative productivity of native grasslands has declined, and the grasslands have reduced capacity to recover from drought and other stresses. Research indicates that the carrying capacity of grazing lands in southern Australia is estimated to have reduced by almost 50% between 1970 and 1984 alone. Over the past four decades more than one-third of farms in livestock production have become unprofitable. The return on pasture intensification has also diminished. At the same time, biodiversity is in decline, as evidenced by the growing number of threatened grassland species.
Example of a monthly habitat assessment quadrat (see Case Study p. 34; Image: Bruce Mullins)
Threats to Native Grasslands
Despite structural, climatic and geographical differences between native
grassland types, there are several major threats that are common to all.
Removal and fragmentation
Many natural native grasslands occur on deep, rich alluvial soils associated with floodplains. These areas are highly prized for their agricultural productivity and have been intensively cultivated and cropped since the mid 1800s resulting in fragmenting grasslands. Isolation of remnant native grasslands affects seed dispersal and movements of species. In both plants and animals this can lead to inbreeding, loss of local genetic diversity, loss of population viability and poor recovery after major disturbances.
Coolatai Grass, Hyparrhenia hirta, a highly invasive weed on the north-west slopes of NSW (Image: Phil Gilmour)
Large-scale soil disturbance and fertiliser application can lead to the replacement of native grasses by exotic species including weeds. Activities including tree clearing, cultivation, sowing exotic pastures, fertiliser application and irrigation can have detrimental effect on the structure and function of native grasslands. Despite an initial increase in pasture yields
following pasture intensification in higher rainfall areas of south-eastern Australia, there has since been a decline in yields (according to recent stocking trends) in response to reduced pasture condition through over-use.
The greatest cause of loss of grassland condition is replacement of native grassland species by exotic plant species, including weeds. Ploughing and associated fertiliser application, and overgrazing, can provide exotic species with a
competitive advantage over native plants. Proliferation of invasive weeds, such as African Lovegrass (Eragrostis curvula), Chilean Needlegrass (Nassella neesiana) and Serrated Tussock (Nassella trichotoma) on the Southern Tablelands, and Coolatai Grass (Hyparrhenia hirta) on the north-west slopes, is reducing the native plant biodiversity and productivity of NSW grasslands, and presents a major challenge to native grassland conservation.
Overgrazed Mitchell Grass grassland on the Culgoa River floodplain north-west of Walgett (Image: John Benson, Botanic Gardens Trust)
Sheep in an overgrazed paddock in the southern tablelands (Image: Mary Goodacre)
Heavy grazing of grasslands can result in decreased species diversity and destruction of grasslands.
Changed water use
Changed patterns of water use can result in rising water tables, soil salinity and soil acidity which are detrimental to native grasslands. Up to 17 million hectares of Australia’s more valuable cropland and grassland are predicted to be at risk from salinity by 2050.
Lack of fire
Frequent use of fire by Aboriginal people maintained a high diversity of species in native grasslands and controlled regeneration of some woody species. Fire frequency has decreased under European land management.
The greatest effect of climate change on grassland is anticipated to be the increase
Lack of recognition of
natural native grasslands
Accurate identification and mapping of native grasslands will assist future management and conservation planning decisions.
Grazing by exotic and native faunaFeral herbivores (goats and rabbits) and native herbivores (kangaroos and wallabies) can add to stock grazing pressure on grasslands, particularly during drought.
Hobby farming and
The expansion of intense land uses on rural land has resulted in loss of native grassland.
Overall, the conservation status of most natural native grassland types in NSW is poor and few are protected in reserves. In western NSW, 11% (218,700 ha) of the remaining area of natural native grassland is protected in the formal reserve system (mainly National Parks and Nature Reserves). That represents only about 5% of the original area of grassland and most of it is one community, the Mitchell Grass-Saltbush community of far north-west NSW. Ten other north-western grassland communities have 1% or less of their current distribution in the reserve system.
The conservation status of other natural native grassland communities, such as those situated on the Monaro Plains and Australian Alps, is also relatively poor. However, a number of coastal headlands supporting
Themeda grassland are now protected within
coastal reserves such as Hat Head National Park and Moonee Nature Reserve.
Legislative Protection of
Grasslands have legislative protection against damage and degradation through the Native Vegetation Act 2003 (NVA), the
Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (TSC)
and the national Environment Protection and
Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC).
The NVA protects grasslands by requiring approval to clear remnant native vegetation and protected regrowth and encouraging the preparation of Property Vegetation Plans. Land managers are advised to seek guidance from their local Catchment Management Authority (CMA) prior to clearing native vegetation.
The threatened status of seven grassland communities in NSW has been formally recognised through listings as Endangered Ecological Communities (EEC) under the NSW TSC Act, or Threatened Ecological Communities (TEC) under the national EPBC Act. These Acts have provisions intended to reduce threats to EECs and to actively assist their recovery and long-term survival.
3. Protection of Native Grasslands in NSW
Community Status Legislation
Artesian Springs Ecological Community Endangered TSC
Bluegrass (Dichanthium spp.) dominant grasslands of the
Brigalow Belt Bioregions (North and South) Endangered EPBC
Box-Gum Woodland1 Endangered TSC
Native Vegetation on Cracking Clay Soils of the Liverpool Plains Endangered TSC Natural Temperate Grassland of the Southern Tablelands of NSW
and the Australian Capital Territory Endangered EPBC
Themeda Grassland on seacliffs and coastal headlands in the NSW North Coast, Sydney Basin and South East Corner
bioregions Endangered TSC
White Box-Yellow Box-Blakely’s Red Gum Grassy Woodland and Derived Native Grassland1
Threatened grassland communities in NSW and their conservation status
under state and national legislation
1 These two woodland communities are included in this table as they contain derived grasslands which contributed
Legislative Protection of
Threatened Grassland Flora
A number of threatened flora species occur in native grasslands. Currently, 47 individual plant species are listed under the TSC Act as Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable, according to the likelihood of extinction in the near future. They include various daisies, orchids, peas and grasses. For a full list of threatened grassland plants, their distribution and threatened status see http://www.nrac.nsw.gov.au/.
Examples of grasslands that are recognised as Endangered Ecological Communities: Artesian Springs (left) and Liverpool Plains Grasslands (right) (Images: Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney)
A threatened grassland plant: Yass Daisy, Ammobium
Well-managed native grasslands provide a range of benefits to the agricultural industries of NSW. These include the provision of high quality feed for livestock; a reduced need for supplementary feeding; low production costs; and production of finer, high tensile wool from sheep. Native grasslands also provide environmental services such as increased biodiversity, storage of carbon, nutrient cycling and regulation of water flow in the landscape.
Native grasslands are naturally drought tolerant. They can be comprised of 30 or 40 native species, many of which are deep rooted. The combination of summer and winter perennial and annual grass and herb species affords a range of responses to changes in rainfall and seasonality, greatly increasing the likelihood of maintaining a fodder supply year round, even in dry times.
4. Agricultural Values of Native Grasslands in NSW
Sheep grazing dry, deep-rooted native grasses, which provide year-round fodder even in drought (Image: Mary Goodacre)
Pastures and grazing systems in Australia are regularly put under stress during drought. Pasture production is commonly low in dry times, which can result in stress to livestock and, if grazing pressure continues, a reduction in ground cover. A management system that considers before, during and after drought periods can ensure the survival and productivity of the pasture system. Native pasture composition is the key to maintaining a productive grazing system throughout drought times.
The owners and managers of ‘Magnet’, a property south of Delungra on the slopes of the Gwydir Catchment, have developed a system to cope with drought and dry times. They have sown areas of old cultivated land to perennial tropical pastures, with some clover. In the existing native pastures, which consist of wallaby grasses (Austrodanthonia), red grasses (Bothriochloa) and Queensland Blue Grass (Dicanthium sericeum), they applied single superphosphate.
The paddocks are divided into 20 to 40 hectare lots, which are strategically grazed using a flexible rotational grazing system. No more than one quarter of the property is used for grazing at any time, which allows the ungrazed pastures to regenerate before the next grazing. The native perennials that are retained are the most persistent during drought times and contribute to a higher proportion of ground cover, a reduction in erosion and improved pasture productivity.
Resowing and fostering native pastures on ‘Magnet’ has significantly improved the productivity and sustainability of the property despite a number of poor seasons. The property is supporting a 30% increase in stock numbers and the stock are in better condition than before the improvements to native pasture management.
A fact sheet on ground cover maintenance and drought is available at: http://brg.cma. nsw.gov.au/uploads///Fact%20sheet%20 7%20printer.pdf
Native Pastures and Planned Grazing for Managing Drought
Year Round Forage
Native grasslands have a high number of species, with a diversity of seasonal growth patterns, which increases the potential for green feed throughout the year. Native perennial species, in particular, provide a year round source of fodder and will respond rapidly to rainfall, providing nutritious green feed to livestock.
Low Input Production
Native pastures require less input from the land manager, particularly fertilisers. Low input native pastures, which are diverse in species composition, are a lower risk and lower cost to land managers than exotic pastures.
Native pastures containing C3 grasses (temperate grasses) are frost tolerant and can produce green foliage in winter. Native pastures provide good quality feed for
livestock and feed values may increase with a light application of fertiliser.
In NSW, native pastures are an integral part of fine wool production. Although wool cuts and sheep live weight gains may be higher on improved, sown or fertilised pastures, fleece produced on native pastures can be finer and often has a higher tensile strength due to the more even feed quality all year round.
Cattle grazing on native pasture, eastern Riverina, where sustainable levels of grazing, with intermittent stock exclusion, has maintained the pasture in good condition despite below average rainfall (Image: Bruce Mullins)
Sheep grazed on native grasses, here Red Grass (Bothriochloa decipiens), often produce wool that is fine and of high tensile strength (Image: Mary Goodacre)
Research suggests that grasslands may be able to store significant amounts of soil carbon (although these amounts are modest compared with woody ecosystems across the bulk of the continent). Practices that conserve soil, increase vegetation cover and promote perennial native grasses enhance carbon storage.
A diversity of deep-rooted perennial native grasses offers an effective mechanism to access sub-surface water for forage production. The deep-rooted plants also improve water infiltration into the soil, further increasing the amount of rainfall available for primary production and reducing run-off.
Soil erosion control
Deep-rooted native perennial grasses are able to persist during drought, providing soils with protection against erosion. These long-lived native grasses are also particularly useful for soil stability on hillsides.
Summer active, native perennial grasses are efficient users of soil water. This results in less water moving through the soil profile and entering the water table, reducing the incidence of dryland salinity and soil acidity.
Well managed native pastures can provide effective weed control, by providing good ground cover and litter which prevents spread of unpalatable weeds. Native grasses have been demonstrated to be capable of excluding Serrated Tussock (Nassella
Competition between Serrated Tussock and Native Pastures
Project conducted by W. Badgery, D. Kemp, D. Michalk and W. King
Serrated Tussock is one of Australia’s worst perennial grass weeds, invading native and improved pastures throughout south-eastern Australia. It is unpalatable to livestock, has low nutritive value, and can rapidly exclude most other grassland plants in pastures that are degraded due to excessive grazing.
At Trunkey Creek on the Central Tablelands of NSW a variety of herbicide, fertiliser and grazing treatments were trialled to determine the interactions between Serrated Tussock and native grassland species, simulating a variety of control and management strategies recommended in the area.
It was found that native grasslands that could maintain dry matter greater than 2 t/ha and 100% ground cover could successfully prevent survival of Serrated Tussock seedling. Even relatively low levels of perennial grass pasture (greater than 0.5 t/ha) resulted in death of Serrated Tussock seedlings up to 12 months old.
Adult plants survived, but the native grasses prevented them from increasing in size, both when the pasture was rotationally grazed and when grazing was absent and fertilisers were withheld.
Serrated Tussock has invaded a native grassland (left); a management regime that maintained a good ground cover of native plants was effective in excluding the unpalatable weed (right) (Images: Tieneke Trotter)
5. Faunal Values of Native Grasslands in NSWNative grasslands support a wide diversity
of interdependent species, from fungi and lichen to grasses and herbs and a variety of animals. This section focuses on the animals: both vertebrates—mammals, birds, reptiles and frogs—and invertebrates.
Forty-nine vertebrate species in NSW rely on grasslands as their primary habitat. These are often referred to as grassland specialists. A further 342 species, grassland generalists, use grasslands but their primary habitat is elsewhere.
Over 40% of the grassland specialists and 20% of grassland generalists are listed under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation
Act or the national Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act, which make provisions
to reduce threats to the species themselves and to their habitats, and to actively assist recovery. A list of the birds, mammals, reptiles and frogs grassland specialists, and their conservation status, is available at http://www.nrac.nsw.gov.au.
It is important that grasslands are connected to other habitats such as shrublands,
woodlands, open forests and rocky areas, as many animals need these areas for shelter and breeding. Echidnas, Rufous Bettongs, bandicoots, wallabies, pademelons and rock-wallabies are not classic grassland species but they can often be found feeding in grasslands, provided adequate cover is close by. Similarly, many birds and bats that forage over open grassy areas require tree hollows for shelter and as breeding sites.
Many specialist grassland mammals such as bettongs, bilbies and bandicoots, were once widespread but have now disappeared from the NSW grasslands. Their loss is unfortunate from an ecological viewpoint. Bandicoots and rat-kangaroos, for example, are important agents of soil disturbance. Soil disturbance facilitates rainfall infiltration into the soil, decomposition of leaf litter, nutrient cycling, herbaceous plant growth rates and the overall maintenance of loose and friable soils. Over half the surviving grassland mammals (generalist and specialist) are listed as threatened.
Despite the extinction of many of their mammal species, important grassland habitats for mammals include the tussock and hummock grasslands. A significant array of small mammals persists in some tussock grasslands, such as the grass downs, that have been less affected by the impacts of heavy grazing by stock and feral herbivores (rabbits, goats), and introduced predators (cats, foxes). Tiny carnivorous marsupials like the Kultarr, Narrow-nosed Planigale and Fat-tailed Dunnart are afforded shelter amongst the Mitchell Grass and other tussocks and in the deep cracks of the drying clay soils that characterise these grasslands.
Hummock grasslands are renowned as important habitats for small ground
mammals. Spinifex hummocks form almost impenetrable fortresses that provide shelter for small ground mammals, such as Bolam’s Mouse and the Mallee Ningaui, and habitat for the insects and small lizards on which they feed.
Grassland-dependent macropods, Swamp Wallaby (right) and Western Red Kangaroo (above) (Images: Eco Logical)
The Red Kangaroo of the open plains grasslands of the semi-arid and arid zones is one of the few grassland specialists that still inhabit most of their former range, despite many parts being highly modified. Other large kangaroos such as the Western Grey Kangaroo, the Eastern Grey Kangaroo and the Common Wallaroo have been advantaged by the provision of water for stock. In some situations their numbers need to be managed such that the combined impact of grazing by kangaroos and stock does not damage native grasslands.
NSW grasslands support a variety of bird types. Twenty-one species, such as the Plains-wanderer, rely on grasslands as their primary habitat. A further 126 bird species use grasslands as a part of their habitat and a food resource. Examples include the Bush Stone-curlew, a threatened species that nests and shelters in woodlands and forages out into grasslands. The Intermediate Egret feeds in grassy pastureland, but nests in dense trees near wetlands. Maritime grasslands support seabird colonies.
Nearly 30% of the grassland specialist bird species have undergone marked contractions in range and reductions in population and are listed as threatened. By contrast, although 15% of generalists are threatened, some
The Stubble Quail, a grassland specialist.
The Bush Stone-curlew, a woodland species that also uses grassland.
generalists such as Galahs and Australian Magpies have increased in abundance and range with the creation of derived grasslands. The greatest conservation challenges for grassland birds are in the lowland native grasslands of central and western NSW, which are among the most depleted ecosystems in NSW.
A Grassland Specialist
One of the most specialised of the grassland birds of NSW, and of Australia, is the Plains-wanderer. The Plains-wanderer lives in sparse native grasslands, usually on hard, red-brown earths. It needs large tracts of native grassland to support breeding populations. The Plains-wanderer was once much more widespread across the western half of the state and into neighbouring states. The Riverina Plains of
Reptiles are the most diverse animal
component of NSW grasslands. Members of all the major lizard and snake groups occur in grasslands across NSW. About 16 species are grassland specialists and 127 are generalists that are partially dependent on grasslands to forage or complete their life-cycle. Over one half of the specialists and 16% of the generalists are listed as threatened. The Striped Legless Lizard, Jewelled Gecko and Grassland Earless Dragon are examples of threatened grassland specialists. The Fat-tailed Gecko, Dubious Gecko, Prickly Gecko, the Pale-headed Snake and Bearded Dragon, are found in grasslands but generally where shrubs and trees also provide habitat resources.
Turtles, including maritime turtles in coastal areas, are occasionally found in grasslands. The tussock grasslands support a large suite of reptiles including the Sand Monitor, Blue-bellied Black-snake and Kinghorn’s Skink. Hummock grasslands also provide habitat for a great diversity of reptiles, such as the Spinifex Snake-lizard, Centralian Blue-tongued Lizard and Southern Blind Snake.
The threatened Grassland Earless Dragon (above) is dependent on grasslands, whereas the Sand Goanna can use other habitats, such as woodland (Images: Eco Logical)
Five frog species in NSW depend on grasslands as their primary habitat and 50 species use grasslands as part of their habitat. About one-quarter of the 55 species are threatened, these include the Crucifix Frog, Southern Toadlet and Eastern Sign-bearing Froglet.
Frogs can survive in a range of habitats. Many frogs use grasslands that are in close proximity to wet habitats, or grasslands that become wet habitats after heavy rain (i.e. swamp grasslands). In these habitats frogs use burrows and cracks in the soil, logs, rocks and thick grass for shelter.
Sudell’s Frog is widespread on and west of the Great Dividing Range. A burrower, it sometimes occurs in grasslands near dams, pools, clay pans and ditches (Image: Eco Logical)
in claypans and even in cracks in the clay soils. Some of these frogs spend considerable periods in an inactive state and emerge only after heavy rainfall in order to breed and disperse across the landscape.
Some frogs are still common in grasslands associated with wetlands and riparian vegetation along streams and rivers. In contrast, frogs of the alpine districts of north-east and south-north-east NSW, such as the Alpine Tree Frog, have suffered drastic reductions in range and abundance.
Threats to grassland frogs include drying of wetlands and trampling of wetland
The Golden Sun Moth:
A Grassland Specialist
The Golden Sun Moth (female above and male below), a grassland specialist and threatened species (Images: Ederic Slater)
Invertebrates, which include grasshoppers, moths, beetles, ants, spiders and worms, are the dominant faunal element in grasslands. They are critical to the overall functioning of grassland ecosystems and are involved in most ecological processes from aerating soil to providing food for small mammals and birds.
The Golden Sun Moth is a day-flying moth that is found in alpine temperate grasslands of the Southern Tablelands. The distribution of the Golden Sun Moth parallels the
distribution of native grasslands dominated by Wallaby Grass (Austrodanthonia). These native grasslands originally extended from the Yass Plains in New South Wales, through Victoria to Bordertown in South Australia. They also covered large areas of the Australian Capital Territory. Today the Golden Sun Moth occurs only in unploughed native grasslands at a few small sites near Canberra, Yass and central and western Victoria. Threats include the continued loss and modification of the moth’s habitat, the isolated nature of remaining habitat patches, inappropriate burning and weed invasion.
6. Aboriginal Values of Native Grasslands in NSW
Grasslands provide value to Aboriginal people as a source of food, a sense of place or habitat, and as landscapes of cultural and historical significance. Protection of Aboriginal cultural heritage is provided under Part 6 of the National Parks and Wild Life Act 1974 (NPW Act).
Grasslands, with their important values and distinctly Aboriginal relics, can also provide insight for non-Aboriginal people that can help mutual understanding.
Value of Grassland Species
Individual plant species were important for ceremonies, decorations, making fire, food, habitat, implements, medicinal purposes, seasonal indicators, shelter, spiritual
associations, women’s uses, and ‘exceptional value’. The leaves and roots of grasses were processed for medicinal purposes; their stems were used for binding and basket weaving. Plants of ‘exceptional value’ are considered by Aboriginal Elders to be extremely
important for defining their people within the landscape. Species of ‘exceptional value’ include Canegrass (Eragrostis australasica), Curly Mitchell Grass (Astrebla lappacea), Kangaroo Grass (Themeda australis), Neverfail Grass (Eragrostis setifolia), nut grasses
(Cyperus), Spinifex (Triodia mitchellii) and
Grindstone (millstone) with centre worn through (Image: Sue Hudson)
Hard seed and tuber pounding stone – Lightning Ridge (Image: Sue Hudson)
Grasslands as a Source of Food
Aboriginal people sourced all food and tools from the land. Men hunted animals in grasslands that were often managed for this purpose. Women and children collected vegetables such as leaves and tubers as dietary staples. Insects were generally easy to find and eaten by all members of the group. When grasshoppers were in profusion, they were the main dietary component.
Grasses were the most common source of food for Aboriginal people along major floodplains and watercourses such as the Darling River. Grass seeds were processed for wet-milled flour.
Seed grinding was an essential part of Aboriginal settlement in the drier western
sticks), coolamons (carry bowls), canoes and shields, provides an important opportunity for education and reconciliation. These trees provide an historical aesthetic for those interested in Aboriginal culture and a poignant reminder for Aboriginal people. Carved trees were used to mark special places including burial sites, male secret places and other ceremonial sites. Women, children and uninitiated males were never allowed to see these places.
Other Aboriginal relics seen in grasslands are patches of black staining of the soil surface caused by charcoal breakdown, particularly in the arid zone of western NSW. These sites are hearths where Aboriginal people camped.
Scarred tree in a grassy woodland near Uralla, NSW (Image: Sue Hudson)
Hearth site near Narran Lake, NSW (Image: Sue Hudson)
Aboriginal association with natural
grasslands was interwoven with a social and cultural fabric evolved over tens of thousands of years. Native grasslands provide a
reminder to Aboriginal people of a time when the women and children gathered plants to be used for food, medicine or tools, and in some cases still do. The expertise needed forgathering and processing these plants was obtained over thousands of years and passed on by grandmothers, mothers and aunts to the young girls.
Native grasslands provide an historical
context for Aboriginal relics. The preservation in their natural habitat of grassland trees that are scarred by Aboriginal use for wooden utensils such as spears, woomeras (throwing
Country is an essential component of
Aboriginal life and spirituality. For Aboriginal people to be together, look after the land and pass on to younger generations the ability to care for country, they need access to a variety of traditional lands. Developing an understanding of the traditional lifestyle requires that Aboriginal people have access to:
● grassland plants used for seeds,
medicines and other materials;
● a wide range of native grassland animals,
birds and insects for hunting;
● areas where fire can be used; ●
● open sites for camps and ceremony; ●
● places of cultural significance and other
bush-tucker areas (e.g. wetlands) across the landscape; and
● part of country, and thus part of
story-telling and dreamtime.
Aboriginal Uses for Grassland Animals
in the Gunnedah Region
Examples of Aboriginal uses for grassland animals in the Gunnedah region include:
● Emu eggshells are said to cure some
kinds of cancer;
● Gall bladders and kidney fat of goannas
were used as a hair tonic, for keeping skin supple, and as a liniment for aches and pains;
● Echidna quills were used as needles and
body ornamentation; and
● Fur of kangaroo and possum was used as
cloaks or clothing in cold weather. According to Elders, grassland animals that are no longer found in the Gunnedah area, some of which had great value to Aboriginal people, include: Australian Bustard (plentiful in 1915); goannas; Frill-necked and Blue-tongued Lizards; Bush Stone-curlews (gone for 60+ years); native bees; Australasian Pipits; Budgerigars; Dingoes and swamp frogs. Animals increasing in numbers in the Gunnedah area include: Echidnas; koalas (moving out of hills towards river flats); feral cats; foxes; and plovers.
7. Sustainable Management of Native Grasslands
Native grasslands provide an economical grazing alternative to improved pastures. They can provide a diverse and nutritious feed for stock with less input required to maintain plant growth and field health. High yielding improved pastures, on the other hand, require a time and financial cost to create and maintain.
In addition to their agricultural value, native grasslands are recognised as culturally and ecologically important systems. Management solutions are being developed and adapted to satisfy these multiple objectives. Efforts are being made to re-introduce perennial native grass cover to improve pasture productivity and reduce the environmental impacts of human activities. Restoration of grassy landscapes is occurring through independent
initiatives, uptake of Catchment Management Authority incentives and through government regulation.
Section 24 of the Native Vegetation Act, 2003, provides regulatory control of grazing of native grasslands. While existing grazing activities are permitted to continue, the Act only permits new grazing practices that are not likely to result in the substantial long-term decline in the structure and composition of native vegetation. Advice on the need for approval for new grazing practices and clearing of native grasslands can be sought from CMA offices and through the Native Vegetation Information Sheets (http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/ vegetation/infosheets.htm).
Best Practice Grazing Management
Better Planning and Partnering:
From Properties to Catchments
Effective management of native grasslands requires planning at both property and catchment scales. Knowledge of individual plant species, the plant communities and their requirements for maintenance or improvement is essential.
An increasing number of land managers prepare property plans and seek to
enhance the value of native grasslands on their property. Some land managers have delineated their property into productivity zones. Once the farm is mapped into productivity or management zones, the spatial arrangement of land-use intensity can be optimised to maintain or increase diversity across the property. Low intensity pastoral use (i.e. negligible fertilisers, no cultivation, intermittent or light grazing, and minimal earthworks) can be continued on appropriate parts of the landscape to maintain native species richness at a local scale.
If best practice management is adopted across whole catchments or landscapes, linked networks of native grassland can improve grassland function, enable grassland organisms to move through the landscape for breeding and dispersal (including dispersal of seeds and cross-pollination of plants), and assist weed management.
The most efficient means to integrate catchment and property planning is to first establish the catchment or regional plan. A regional plan can identify areas of high, moderate and low conservation significance and areas in need of restoration. This will provide a framework for the objectives of individual property plans, allowing land managers to see the contribution of their proposed actions to the common goal. Awareness of the integrated values of native
grasslands has increased over recent decades. A key aim of best practice management is to maintain a diversity of native species. Non-continuous grazing, when properly applied and with knowledge of species behaviour, can be used to maintain and enhance grassland composition by resting paddocks when desirable species are recovering from a major stress event such as fire or drought, or when they are flowering and dispersing seed. Some general best practice concepts for native grassland management include:
● maintain appropriate stocking rates, that
is, matching available feed with livestock requirements;
● employ non-continuous grazing (e.g.
rotational or tactical grazing) rather than continuous grazing;
● ensure fertiliser use does not
disadvantage native species; and
● avoid immediate and dramatic changes to
existing management at high quality sites.
Grazing to Increase Diversity
Research has shown that grasslands require some form of disturbance to maintain species richness and health. Prior to
European settlement, use of fire by Aboriginal people was the disturbance mechanism that stimulated diversity in grasslands. Fire is not often a practical modern day management tool, particularly on actively grazed land. Research has demonstrated that stock grazing can achieve similar diversity, but sometimes a different species mix, if undertaken appropriately. Mowing and slashing can occasionally be effective. Spelling grazed paddocks to allow plants to germinate, grow, flower and set seed assists maintenance of species diversity, especially
CMAs Partnering with Land Managers to Protect Native Grasslands
Southern Rivers Catchment Management AuthorityThe Monaro Plains in the Snowy
Mountains appear to be a barren landscape. However, the wet and dry tussock grasslands and alpine grasslands contain a diversity of flora and fauna adapted to the region. The Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority (CMA) is working with private landowners to develop a network of members to highlight and protect the biological significance of these areas.
On the Monaro Plains, high and
medium conservation grasslands occur on private land in areas of higher productivity. The project aims to assist and promote grassland conservation through sustainable farm management.
Landowners who have signed management agreements with the CMA have access to: technical advice from specialised staff; a network of like-minded landowners who want to sustainably manage grasslands on their property for conservation and production; and incentive funding to protect significant sites.
With 250,000 hectares of grasslands in the region, significant conservation outcomes are anticipated from the improved
More information on this work can be found at: http://www.nrm.gov.au/projects/ nsw/sriv/2006-08.html
A Community Group Makes a Difference
D. Costello and West Hume Landcare GroupThe burning of vegetation in rail corridors was a regular management practice until many of the rail lines closed in the early 1980s.
The West Hume Landcare group re-discovered five hectares of native grassland along the Culcairn to Corowa railway line in 1992. A botanical survey by the group identified more than 50 groundcover species including native grasses, lilies and orchids. The group had concerns that the thick swards of native Kangaroo Grass were smothering much of the diversity found within the site. It was
Rural Fire Service, implemented a prescribed burn of the site with the aim of reducing the Kangaroo Grass cover and opening the inter-tussock space to allow regeneration of the smaller native herbs and grasses. After three months the burn was deemed a success, with an impressive show of wild flowers emerging, despite ongoing drought. This action increased the biodiversity of this site and offered valuable education for the local community who could see more value in the site when the grassland was flowering. The group continues to manage the site
Restoration of Native Grasslands and Native Grasses
Harvesting seed from Red Grass (Bothriochloa decipiens) for sowing (Image: Mary Goodacre)
Addressing Climate Change
Native grasslands play a role in the storage of carbon in the environment. The vast extent of grasslands in Australia means they have the potential to store huge amounts of carbon. The agricultural industries contribute approximately 16%
of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, mainly through production of methane by livestock. Restoration and maintenance of native grasslands can achieve sequestration of carbon to help offset agricultural
contributions to greenhouse gases. where plants have been locally sourced. For example, native grasses such as couch varieties have been used successfully to revegetate and restore areas suffering from dryland salinity, and the Land, Water and Wool project (http://lwa.gov.au/programs/ land-water-and-wool ) has demonstrated that in south-east Australia sheep grazing can make it profitable to rehabilitate degraded landscapes such as saline scalds.
The results of restoration have been promising. However, much remains to be learned about restoration and management methods for different native grasslands, in particular their outcomes for farm production, profitability and for nature. Because most native grasslands are located
on private land, their conservation will depend largely on the implementation of conservation management and restoration techniques by private land managers. The strategic use of grazing and fire, sowing of native grass species, mulching practices, and weed control measures all have an important role to play in improving grassland management and thus condition and productivity. Grassland restoration also provides opportunities to learn. Simple trials and monitoring over time can provide feedback for management.
Grassland restoration benefits for farm productivity and the natural environment have been demonstrated in NSW, particularly
Research Improves Management of Grazed Grasslands
for Threatened Species
At Morundah, in the Riverina, a high frequency communications tower operated by the Department of Defence is surrounded by native grassland grazed by cattle. Aware of the environmental significance of the grasslands and the presence of threatened species on the 13,000 ha site, the Department of Defence commissioned a study to research and monitor threatened flora and fauna, with particular focus on the impact of grazing. The objectives of the study were:
● to validate historical records of
threatened flora and determine the extent of these species on the site;
● to undertake annual monitoring of
● to establish a monitoring program
for the threatened Plains-wanderer that includes systematic surveys and habitat condition assessment; and
● to use the data to inform grazing
Five threatened flora species were identified on the site and monitoring points were established for each. The condition of Plains-wanderer habitat was monitored monthly on each of five 1 km x 500 m grids. Habitat quality was assessed at each quadrat and the amount of vegetation cover, leaf litter and bare ground was estimated. These monthly assessments allowed changes in grassland structure induced by grazing and weather to be detected.
The research showed that the abundance of the Plains-wanderer was influenced by weather and grazing. Adaptive grazing management has been a key factor in assuring its persistence on the site. These rotational grazing regimes also assisted the survival of the threatened flora species. The research has culminated in
the development of a Biodiversity
Conservation and Landscape Management Plan for the site that identifies its values and makes recommendations for its continued conservation management.
Useful Sources of Information on Native GrasslandsBarlow, T., Grassy Guidelines: How to Manage
Native Grasslands and Grassy Woodlands on Your Property, 1998; download at http://www.
Catchment Management Authorities: http://www.cma.nsw.gov.au/
Eddy, D. Managing Native Grassland: A Guide
to Management for Conservation, Production and Landscape Protection, World Wildlife Fund
Australia, 2002; download at http://www.wwf. org.au/publications/managing _grasslands.pdf Eddy, D., Mallinson, D., Rehwinkel, R. and Sharp, S. Grassland Flora: A Field Guide
for the Southern Tablelands (NSW & ACT).
Environment ACT, Canberra, 1998
Keith, D., Ocean Shores to Desert Dunes: The
Native Vegetation of New South Wales and the ACT. Department of Environment and
Conservation, NSW, 2004
Land and Water Australia, Shaping the
Future: Managing for Sustainable Profit, 2007;
download at http://images.wool.com/pub/ lww_Intro_Managing-Sustainable-Profit.pdf
McIntyre, S., McIvor, FJ.G. and Heard, K.M. (Eds) Managing and Conserving Grassy
Woodlands. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood,
2002. (www.publish.csiro.au) Native Grasses Association Inc: http://www.stipa.com.au/
Native Pastures & Native Grasses
http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/agriculture/field/ pastures-and-rangelands/native-pastures New South Wales Vegetation Classification & Assessment Database Project (NSWVCA); http://www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/science/ Evolutionary_Ecology_Research/vegetation_ of_nsw
NSW Vegetation Information System: www.environment.nsw.gov.au/research/ vegetationinformationsystem.htm
Sharp, S., Dorrough, R., Rehwinkel, R., Eddy, D. and Breckwoldt, A., Grassy Ecosystems
Management Kit: A Guide to Developing
Conservation Management Plans, Environment
ACT, Canberra, 2005 (www.tams.act.gov.au)