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 grasslands of the Western Volcanic Plains are listed as critically endangered under federal legislation. They are among the most under-represented ecosystems in Australia with less than 5% remaining. It is important that grasslands are managed effectively. This includes regular removal of biomass. Biomass is how much herbage or plant matter there is, which in a grassland is really about how dense the grass tussocks are. As most of the non-grass plant species in a grassland grow in the spaces between the grass tussocks, it is really important that the grasslands are either burnt,...