How can I get help for grasslands?
There are lots of resources available to help you do what you want to do. Try the links below for more internet resources to help with science, legal aspects, growing your own grassland and managing grasslands. You may also find relevant articles by searching the FoG newsletters. But you may find what you really need is to talk to someone. One of the easiest ways to meet people with interest, sometimes passionate interest, in grasslands is to join one of FoG's activities. Non members are always welcome. If you have a specific problem that you can't fix yourself Contact Us and we'll see what we can do to help. We are nearly always interested in visiting grasslands we haven't seen before and can bring a range of expertise to your place if you think you might have something valuable and want to find out more about what you have got. Let us know.
A good field guide, written for the NSW southern tablelands but useful elsewhere too, is Grasslands Flora. It covers both Australian and introduced species.
Friends of Grasslands has three brochures:
If you need help with the science of grasslands or identifying species or ecological communities, try these links:
- Grasses of New South Wales (DJB Wheeler, SWL Jacobs & RDB Whalley, University of New England) is designed to assist identification of all grasses growing in the state. It includes a section on the nomemclature of the parts of grass plants to help you understand scientific descriptions of grasses, as well as botanical keys, a description of each species, a glossary and bibliography. A fourth edition was published in December 2008 and is available from http://orders.ucb.net.au/SearchBooks.aspx?m=a&l=o&k=Grasses+on+NSW&t=t
- AusGrass2 is an on-line key to Australian grasses and includes sections to assist with identifying features used in the keys. It was based on an off-line version, AusGrass
- Grasses: Habits and Habitats brochure
- A good field guide, written for the NSW southern tablelands but useful elsewhere too, is Grasslands Flora. It covers both Australian and introduced species
- Grasses of Coastal NSW by Harry Rose and Carol Rose includes identification methods and photographs is available as a book or ebook
- Grasses of the NSW Tablelands by Harry Rose and others is also available as a book or ebook
- Grassland quality indicator species lists. See also the Grasses: Habits and Habitats brochure
- R.C. Armstrong, K.D. Turner, K.L. McDougall, R. Rehwinkel and J.I. Crooks (2013) Plant communities of the upper Murrumbidgee catchment in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, Cunninghamia 13(1): 125-265 (https://www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/RoyalBotanicGarden/media/RBG/Science/Cunninghamia/Volume 13 - 2013/Cun131arm125.pdf: 4.6MB); (a draft of that paper, including additional information, is Plant Communities of the South Eastern Highlands and Australian Alps within the Murrumbidgee Catchment of New South Wales, version 1.1, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, August 2011).
- PlantNET is the on-line resource of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney. It covers the entire flora of NSW and includes a comprehensive glossary of botanical terms, many with diagrams, as well as sets of on-line botanical keys.
- A good basic field guide is Flowers of the South Coast and ranges of NSW by Betty Wood with photographs by Don Wood, in three volumes. It is organised by flower colour within each volume
- A Census of the Vascular Plants, Hornworts and Liverworts of the Australian Capital Territory lists the scientific names of the native and naturalised vascular plants, hornworts and liverworts known to occur in the ACT (excluding Jervis Bay). Future versions of the Census will provide complete coverage of all remaining cryptogamic groups including mosses, lichens, algae, fungi and slime moulds
- There is a flora list for the Cooma-Monaro shire, and other NSW shires near the ACT, published as part of the 2004 Australian Capital Region State of the Environment Report. Other websites have privately published species lists e.g. Mt Oak. Rainer Rehwinkle has prepared a PATN analysis of grassland associations within the Natural Temperate Grassland Endangered Ecological Community in the Southern Tablelands of NSW (2MB). FOG has plant lists from properties we have visited
- Interactive CDs and DVDs can be a useful way of identifying plants and also an excellent way of expanding one’s botanical knowledge. Two available from CSIRO Publishing or the Botanical Bookshop at the ANBG are Families of Flowering Plants of Australia, edited by Kevin Thiele and Laurie Adams ($75) and Euclid, Eucalypts of Australia, third edition ($140). Further information
- Photos of many grassland species are available at http://www.fsccmn.com/?page_id=116
- The Australian Network for Plant Conservation runs more or less regular workshops on identifying grassland species. It also has a listing of useful web resources
- Information on reptiles is held by the Australian Herpetological Society, the ACT Herpetological Association and the Frog and Tadpole Study Group of NSW
- For help with identifying birds you could try Birds in Backyards
- Google books and Google scholar can provide information you won't find in a standard web search
- Australian libraries catalogue will find books and other materials held by major Australian libraries
- Government agency websites can also provide scientific information. Botanic gardens (eg ANBG) are major repositories of scientific knowledge.
If you need help with legal aspects, have a look at these:
- The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Commonwealth) provides legislative mechanisms to protect listed threatened ecological communities and species. 'Native temperate grassland of the Southern Tablelands of NSW and the ACT' is listed under the Act. Details are at the species profile and threats database. 'White Box-Yellow Box-Blakely's Red Gum Grassy Woodland and Derived Native Grassland' is also listed. Details are at the species profile and threats database
- In the ACT, the Nature Conservation Act 1980 lists threatened species and communities, and provides for management agreements
- In NSW, the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 provides for Voluntary Conservation Agreements which place legally binding covenants on land titles to protect plants, animals and aboriginal heritage. The Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 lists threatened species and ecological communities. Other jurisdictions have similar legislative arrangements
- Australian legislation can be accessed through the Australasian Legal Information Institute.
If you want to grow your own:
- The Australian Native Plant Society has information about all manner of Australian plants, including the grasses and forbs which grow in natural grasslands. It has member organisations in each State and the ACT
- Australian grasses and associated species are increasingly available from commercial and community plant nurseries. Some produce in quantities suitable for landscape scale plantings
- Greening Australia and the Australian Trust for Conservation Volunteers may be able to help with bigger projects
- Couple of useful websites: http://www.understorey-network.org.au, a Tasmanian website with a database of species which includes details of cultivation; and http://www.anbg.gov.au/gnp/index.html - 'gnp' stands for growing native plants
- Couple of useful books: Seed collection of Australian native plants : for revegetation, tree planting and direct seeding by Murray Ralph (http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/9721775); and Growing Australian native plants from seed : for revegetation, tree planting and direct seeding, also by Murray Ralph (http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/9831580)
- See the Cultivation Corner articles in the newsletter archive: Searching might be the easiest way to find them
- The Grassland Society of NSW was formed in March 1985 and has over 500 members, most of whom are farmers and graziers. The society is focussed on transfer of information and technology relevant to pasture, grazing and land management. The aims of the society are to advance the investigation of problems affecting grassland husbandry and to encourage the adoption into practice of results of research and practical experience.
- Contact Us if you have particular questions or ideas you want to share.
For help with grassland management:
- The Australian Network for Plant Conservation runs courses and workshops related to grassland management
- There are several Conservation Management Networks (CMNs) which provide advice on grasslands. The Grassy Box Woodlands (GBW) CMN on the western slopes of NSW has shown that CMNs offer an effective long-term conservation mechanism for ecological communities that are difficult to conserve by other means. Established in 1998, the GBW CMN is still growing in membership numbers and support. A CMN is a network of remnants and their owners or managers, and other interested individuals. They aim to provide support and stimulate partnerships between local communities, government, educational institutions, scientists and conservation practitioners to protect and manage important remnants. The CMN provides an overarching framework to coordinate protection of sites and implement adaptive management. An ecological focus allows a CMN to provide highly targeted advice and support. Others in NSW include the Monaro Grasslands CMN, the Far South Coast CMN and the Southern Tablelands Grassy Ecosystem CMN; others may emerge. There are (at last count) 13 CMNs in Victoria
- The Victorian Department of Primary Industries has produced a brochure Native Pasture Management (900kB pdf)
- CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems has published Biodiversity in the Paddock (4MB download), a 30 page practical field guide to help graziers and land managers achieve biodiversity outcomes from native pastures
- Burning is often an important part of grassland management in Australia. In NSW, workshops are run by Hotspots
- See the Weeding to Restore and Protect Your Patch brochure
- Fireweed Best Practice Management Guide (August 2012) and related research papers
- K2C has published a flyer for farmers on Grassland Earless Dragons (Tympanocryptis pinguicolla)
- The Weeds Network has info on invasive plants
- If you’re interested in learning a bit more about the environment and ecology check out the Certificate IV in Environmental Monitoring and Technology: subjects include soil, water, microbiology, environmental management plans, GPS mapping, data analysis, remote camera monitoring, workplace sustainability and safety: http://cit.edu.au/study/courses/environmental_monitoring_and_technology_certificate_iv.