Fiona Smith is an environmental planner in the Environment and Heritage Division of Parks Victoria. Fiona is currently working on planning for the establishment of the Western Grassland Reserves, a new grassland park which will connect the You Yangs area to the Werribee River across the Volcanic Plains west of Melbourne.
The loss of grasslands to urban development, invasive weeds and inappropriate management practices are probably the biggest threats to grasslands in Victoria. There are many weed species now in the grasslands that like the same conditions that native grassland species like. Species such as Serrated Tussock and needle grasses are also easily spread by stock and machinery. These species outcompete the native grasses and reduce the diversity of the grasslands. Inappropriate management includes over-grazing, soil disturbance and not undertaking actions to reduce biomass, like burning.