New management plan for Victoria's alpine national parks
Parks Victoria has embarked on a revision of the management plans for all of Victoria’s alpine national parks, and associated protected areas.
Until now, the Alpine National Park, Mount Buffalo National Park, Baw Baw National Park, Snowy River National Park and Errinundra National Park have had their own management plans, and the current plan for the Alpine National Park actually consists of four separate regional plans.
The new single plan will cover all of the above national parks, as well as the Avon Wilderness and associated historic reserves like Walhalla Historic Area. This totals some 860,000 ha, nearly one third of Victoria’s park estate, in one hit. Producing just one management plan for all of these parks scarcely satisfies the legal obligation to produce a management plan for each of Victoria’s national parks.
The VNPA, however, has serious reservations about the integrity of this planning process. In particular, we do not believe it is the best way to solve the very difficult problem of managing alpine ecosystems, and the many other ecosystems in these parks, under the impacts of climate change.
We'll continue to monitor developments, posting further information on the various parks involved and the planning process.
Failing frosts spell end for alpine grasslands
Normally in alpine areas the "treeline" is the altitude at which it is too cold for trees to survive. Above that point you might find occasional shrubs, then alpine grasses and a range of smaller herbs.
But all of Mount Buffalo National Park, and most of the high plains of our Alpine National Park, are actually below the treeline.
Our alpine grasslands and herbfields largely survive in "inverted treelines" where chilling summer frosts, settling in flattish hollows between hills, inhibit the growth of trees.
With a warming climate, however, and less severe frosts, Snow Gums are already encroaching on these grasslands.
Indeed, we can expect a significant shrinking of Snow Grass plains, first on Mount Buffalo and then on places like the Bennison, Wellington and southern Bogong High Plains.
On thin ice
Ice skating on Lake Catani in Mount Buffalo National Park was so common in the early 1900s that there were skates for hire at the Chalet.
It has not been possible to skate on the lake for more than 50 years now.