Tuesday, 11 May 2021


Some years ago, my wife and I had the opportunity to visit the renowned Grampians National Park in western Victoria, a very popular tourist destination, both for local and overseas visitors, keen to experience that region's well-documented biodiversity.

Victorians are rightfully proud of that beautifully scenic mountain range, with its weathered sandstone outcroppings which have endured for over 400 million years. It’s an area referred to in promotional brochures as “nature’s wonderland”, stretching 95km from north to south, and around 55km at its widest, officially measuring 1,672 km².

The brochures tell us: “These ranges are renowned for their wealth of ferns, orchids, herbs, shrubs and trees, with over 1000 different species in the area”.

Reading that description brings into focus the amazing biodiversity that exists in our own backyard. Much of that has been highlighted by work undertaken by the local environment centre’s volunteers, associated with bush regeneration work which has been ongoing since 2014.

For example, the 4-year Upper Coldstream Biodiversity Project, which worked extensively across Pillar Valley, identified close to 1,050 native plant species in an area just 16km long by an average width of about 6km, around 100km².

In the Chambigne Nature Reserve – Shannon Creek area, southwest of Grafton, measuring less than 50km², work associated with several projects there over the years, have identified more than 1,100 native plant species more than two dozen of them listed as threatened.

This region’s biodiversity is legend, and in those two relatively small areas mentioned above, 90 orchids, more than 90 ferns, and 39 eucalypts (Angophora, Corymbia and Eucalyptus), have so far been identified.

Funded by grants received through Local Land Services, the Biodiversity Conservation Trust, and the Saving our Species program, this work has allowed surveys for flora and fauna to occur across many properties that have never previously been examined. Also, the popular Land for Wildlife program, for which the Environment Centre is the local coordinator, has contributed greatly to that body of knowledge, as more and more landowners sign up to help our native animals survive into the future.

- John Edwards

Published in the "Voices for the Earth" column in The Clarence Valley Independent , April 28, 2021.