3.1 Extent and representation of natural assets in parks
Victoria can be divided into 28 terrestrial bioregions; large land areas characterised by similar natural features and environmental processes that influence the functions of entire ecosystems, and five marine bioregions, large areas of the sea that can be grouped according to characteristics such as currents, wave energy, seawater temperature, geology and geography.
The parks network protects a great variety of native vegetation types, from wetlands and forests to coastal heath and grasslands, some of which are rare and depleted. Vegetation types (Ecological Vegetation Divisions or EVDs) reflect the climate, soils and topography of an area.
Parks also play an important role in conserving the diversity of the state’s native flora and fauna and provide refuge to many threatened flora and fauna species. They allow for the evolutionary potential of species, provide climate change refugia and can contribute to the resilience of broader landscapes.
3.1.1 Representation of terrestrial bioregions in parks
3.1.2 Representation of marine bioregions in parks
3.1.3 Extent and representation of native vegetation in parks
3.1.4 Extent and representation of marine habitats in parks
3.1.5 Extent and representation of wetlands in parks
3.1.6 Representation of flora and fauna in terrestrial parks
3.1.7 Significance of park habitats for threatened species
3.1.8 Representation of marine flora and fauna
Test detailed map
3.1.1. Representation of terrestrial bioregions in parks
- The proportion of bioregions protected in parks ranges from 100% of the Wilsons Promontory bioregion to just over 1% of the Dundas Tablelands
3.1.2. Representation of marine bioregions in parks
- Of the five marine bioregions off Victoria’s coastline, the Victorian Embayments bioregion is the most well represented in parks, with more than 60 per cent of its area protected. Central Victoria, Flinders, Twofold Shelf and Otway have 2% or less of their area protected in parks.
3.1.3. Extent and representation of native vegetation in parks
- Ecological Vegetation Divisions (EVDs) are made up of Ecological Vegetation Classes (EVCs). EVCs are assigned a conservation status based on their bioregion.
- All Ecological Vegetation Divisions are represented within parks, although the extent of representation varies widely: Hummock-grass Mallee is the most well-reserved with 86% protected in parks while the least represented is Basalt Grassland, with just 3.8% of its area present in parks.
3.1.4. Extent and representation of marine habitats in parks
- Around five per cent of Victorian marine waters are protected by marine national parks and marine sanctuaries. Other marine protected areas include marine parks, marine and coastal parks, and a marine reserve.
- The habitats found within these marine protected areas include seagrass meadows, mangroves, saltmarsh, rocky reefs and soft sediment.
3.1.5. Extent and representation of wetlands in parks
Wetlands can be classified according to their water depth, frequency of inundation and salinity. The Corrick system, developed in the 70’s, identifiedThere are eight wetland types in Victoria, and they includinge marine and coastal zones, inland and man-made wetlands.
Extent and representation of wetland types in parks
- Permanent saline, semi-permanent saline and deep freshwater marsh are the most well represented wetlands in the parks network.
Extent and representation of Ramsar wetlands in parks
- Eleven of the 12 internationally significant Ramsar wetlands found in Victoria are entirely or partially managed by Parks Victoria.
- The Glenelg Estuary and Discovery Bay is Victoria’s newest Ramsar site. Listed in February 2018, the site includes the majority of Lower Glenelg National Park and Discovery Bay Coastal Park.
3.1.6. Representation of flora and fauna in terrestrial parks
Parks play an important role in conserving the diversity of the state’s native flora and fauna. In 2018, 4,997 native species of flora and 1,677 native species of fauna were known to be present in Victoria’s parks network. The number of species recorded was boosted by an increase in new species records, as well as changes to species taxonomy.
Native flora species in parks
- Of the 5,405 native flora species recorded in Victoria, 92 per cent (4,997) are present in the state’s terrestrial and marine protected areas .
- The Alpine National Park has the highest number of native flora species recorded followed by the Grampians, Great Otway and Snowy River national parks. There are 13 terrestrial parks that have over 800 species recorded.
Number of flora species per hectare as a ratio
- Conservation reserves account for the highest proportion of park type which contain one or more species per hectare (34%). This highlights their importance in conserving flora species, even though more than 90% of these reserves are very small (less than 400 ha).
Rare and threatened flora species in parks
- Of Victoria’s 1,902 listed rare and threatened flora species, 90% are recorded in parks, with 11 parks containing more than 100 species.
- Alpine National Park has by far the largest number of rare and threatened flora species, with ten other parks having more than 100 rare and threatened species recorded.
Endemic flora species in parks
- 344 species of flora are endemic to (only found in) Victoria. Of these, 36 species are endemic to a single park.
- The Grampians and Alpine national parks have the highest number of endemic species.
Native fauna species in parks
- Of the 2,204 native fauna species recorded in Victoria, 1,677 (76%) are present in terrestrial and marine parks.
- Terrestrial parks with the greatest number of fauna species include Croajingolong, Grampians, Alpine and Great Otway national parks. Ten terrestrial parks have more than 300 native fauna species recorded.
Representation of faunal groups in parks
- Of the 1,677 recorded faunal species in the parks network, invertebrates (643 species) and birds (451 species) are the most represented faunal groups.
Number of fauna species per hectare as a ratio
- Conservation reserves and Urban and Other parks have a higher number of fauna species per hectare than National Park Act parks. This highlights the important role that these smaller reserves can play in complementing the National Parks system and building more resilient landscapes.
Rare and threatened fauna species in parks
- In 2018 there were 347 listed threatened fauna species recorded in Victoria’s parks network, which represented 89.2% of the state’s listed threatened fauna species.
- Croajingolong and Murray-Sunset national parks are home to the largest number of rare and threatened species found across the parks network. In total, 16 parks have 50 or more rare or threatened fauna recorded.
Number of terrestrial vertebrate fauna species endemic to a park
Four terrestrial vertebrate animal species endemic to a park have been recorded in the parks network.
Three of the four endemic animals occur in parks located in the Victorian Alps.
3.1.7. Significance of park habitats for threatened species
Number of species for which national parks and nature conservation reserves provide best habitat
- Detailed assessment of 638 Victorian parks and reserves (including all national parks and larger conservation reserves) reveals that these parks provide 516 threatened species with at least 80 per cent of important available habitat in the state.
Top 10 parks with greater than 80% of best habitat suitability in the state
- The Alpine National Park contains the highest number of threatened species (127) for which it provides 80 per cent of the best habitat suitability for that species, followed by the Grampians National Park (66).
Number and distribution of Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (Vic)-listed vegetation and faunal communities recorded in park
- Of the 41 flora and fauna communities listed as threatened under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (Vic), 40 can be found in the parks network (34 flora and 6 fauna).
Key Biodiversity Areas
Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA) represent the most important sites for biodiversity conservation worldwide, and are identified using globally standardised criteria. They include vital habitat for threatened plant and animal species in terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems.
As of 2018, 37 of the KBAs declared in Australia occurred in Victoria and 36 of these sites (78% of their total area) were in parks. Five KBAs are shared between Victoria and other states. In total, 14 KBAs in Victoria have more than 80% of their area protected in parks.
Percentage of Key Biodiversity Area (KBA) in parks
3.1.8. Representation of marine flora and fauna
Marine flora and fauna species in parks
- Greater numbers of marine flora and fauna species have been recorded in the Port Phillip Heads and Wilsons Promontory marine national parks, reflecting both survey effort and their size.