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Topic Grassland management
Question What is the impact of urban development on native grasslands?
Expert Dr Nick Williams
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Dr Nick Williams is a plant ecologist at the University of Melbourne. Nick’s research investigates the ecology of urban areas in particular, grassland ecology and restoration, green infrastructure for climate change adaptation and weed invasions. Nick’s research has highlighted how surrounding landscapes influence the processes that occur in remnant habitats, such as edge effects and local extinctions, and, has developed ways to make urban areas more biodiversity friendly.

Urbanization directly destroys native grasslands so therefore it has been a real threat to their persistence over the past 20 years in Melbourne and Canberra in particular. However, those small patches of native grassland that have managed to survive can benefit from urbanization because as the surrounding landscape is urbanized the weeds that may have been grown in those landscapes as they were derelict industrial land or just waiting for development and not particularly well managed, can be replaced by concrete and people’s gardens, meaning that the amount of weed seed coming in to the...

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