Environmental Impacts on the Grampians By Ashlee Tonkin
There are many different types of impacts that all affects the Grampians environment. The Grampians has been around for millions of years, & so over time different impacts have all added to the current structure of the Grampians. Some impacts that have really affected the environment have been non-indigenous impacts & recreational impacts. Different impacts that exist...
Non-indigenous impacts have existed since European settlement in 1788. Europeans have used the land for commercial uses mainly, such as farming/agricultural uses & timber harvesting. These uses cause harm to the natural vegetation but introducing livestock to the area which trample over the pastures which destroys native plants & affects the soil. The recreational impacts have occurred mainly in the last century for the purpose of tourism. Tourists like to see the magnificent sights, go bushwalking, bike riding, camping & rock climbing. These uses have a diverse affect on the environment, as a result of these fun activities with many people every year visiting the area, it causes a lot of damage to the areas that are used. People litter & they cause harm to the surrounding vegetation.
Background On The Grampians National Park
List two organisations that have a role in managing the Grampians National Park Two organisations that play a role in conserving the Grampians National Park is Parks Victoria & the Department of Sustainability & Environment. They are the more well-known groups that protect the environment. There are also volunteer groups that help in the management of the Grampians such as the Naturewise Conservation Volunteers. They allow people to spend 3-4 days touring around the Park with a park ranger observing the environment & learning important conservational tools to help manage the environment. Parks Victoria is an important source of learning about conservation, but also they provide information about what to do in particular national parks. For the Grampians, they give information about the changes of conditions, things to do, facilities, heritage etc. The information allows tourists to enjoy the area without harming it. The DSE is an organisation that advertises sustainable practises in order to conserve different environments.
b) In a maximum of 2 sentences describe what each of these organisations responsibilities are. Parks Victoria is responsible for the conservation of many parks, sanctuaries & reserves. The DSE is Victoria's lead government agency for the sustainable management of water resources, climate change, bushfires, public land, forests and ecosystems. Both of these departments have different roles but both play an important part in conserving & preserving the Grampians.
c) When was it declared a National Park? The Grampians was declared a National Park in 1984. d) d. How much area does it cover? The Grampians covers approximately 168,000 hectares of land. e. What are some of the flora and fauna you are likely to find at the Grampians The usual flora & fauna that you would most likely see when you are at the Grampians are many different types of species. There are many bird species that live in this area because they have a large area that they could live in & inhabit; Owls, Emus, Galahs, Magpies etc. There are also many different types of mammals that live there also; such as Kangaroos, Wallabies, Possums, Gliders etc. The flora up at the Grampians is very diverse, it has many beautiful features that all add to the large range of wildflowers, shrubs, trees, etc. There are over 800 indigenous plant species that exist in the Grampians which are found no where else in the world.
Introduced Species The Grampians is home to a variety of Introduced/Exotic species. Explain one of them and how its introduction has impacted on the natural landscape/environment . A large problem in the Grampians has been introduced species; many of these new species have caused trouble & harm to the natural, indigenous species that live in the Grampians. 24 European Wild Rabbit was introduced in 1859 on the Victorian coast for means of hunting, but as the conditions in Australia were prime for the rabbits to breed, they spread unbelievably quick. The rabbit inhabits area such as agricultural areas, scrubland, forest areas, woodlands, low-lying scrub areas and many other places are ideal habitats for the pests. Every year, the rabbits cause millions of dollars damage, mainly to agricultural areas by eating on crops. They cause erosion by burrowing into the ground & eating native plants which leaves the soil vulnerable. These days, the European Wild Rabbit covers all of Australia, especially the Grampians which is a prime place for them to live. Other introduced species which exist in the Grampians is the Red Fox & the Red Deer, there are also many other species that have been introduced.
The Grampians National Park Cultural Uses:- The Grampians has been a part of the Indigenous community for thousands of years, there are many areas which are sacred & were used for hunting & other things. The Aboriginals used many different practises that allowed them to be able to hunt more efficiently, they burnt off some farm land to clear the grassland for a clearer sight. They introduced the dingo over 3000 years ago, they thought that the dingo’s tracking senses were very strong so they used them to track prey such as the Tasmanian Devil. Recreational Users:- Recreational users are the tourists that come to the area to witness the sights & do different & out of the ordinary activities that they usually wouldn’t do; such as camping, rock climbing, trail bike riding etc. Although these activities are enjoyable, they cause widespread damage to paths & camping grounds.
Conservational Users:- The conservationists of the Grampians introduce many strategies that help prevent extensive damage to the environment. Park rangers roam the area & make sure nothing is wrong or out of the ordinary. They make sure visitors to the area are abiding by the rules & respecting the environment by not littering etc. Commercial Uses:- Commercial uses are things that affect the environment, but also bring in an income to farmers or workers. Activities such as farming/agriculture, timber harvesting, mining, urbanisation & livestock grazing all have a negative impact on the environment. Farming/agriculture ruins the organic soil & destroys native trees & plants. Practises such as mining & timber harvesting aren’t practised as much these days as conservational groups such as the DSE have prevented this from happening.
Codes of Conduct Bushwalking Codes of Conduct:- Bushwalking becomes more & more popular every year, so rules need to be in place to help keep the environment as natural as possible for future uses. –Stay on the track, even if its rough & muddy. -Avoid sensitive vegetation such as mosses, ferns etc. -Walk softly, use appropriate footwear. -Keep your party small, around 4-8 people as it creates more damage the more people. -(If possible) Go in off peak season -Plan your route -Minimise your impacts; take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints. There are plenty more rules to abide by, for more information go to http://www.dse.vic.gov.au/CA256F310024B628/0/A7869E2666EFC837CA25720B000BB327/$File/FS0015+-+Bushwalking+Code.pdf
Mountain Bike Codes of Conduct:- Along with bush walking, mountain biking is a big issue towards to environment. -Ride on the correct roads only -Respect the right of others, keep your speed down. -If you meet walkers, announce your presence. -Always give horse riders the right of way. -Avoid skidding as it causes serious damage to vegetation. -Stay away from muddy & wet areas as leaving bike tracks causes erosion. -Ask for permission from local land managers before you leave. For more information, go to http://www.dse.vic.gov.au/CA256F310024B628/0/E64A4FB11A53B829CA25720B000BDD0A/$File/FS0018+-+Mountain+Bike+Code.pdf
Minimising Impacts Commercial & Recreational There are many methods that are used by people so that they can try & preserve the environment. The methods for minimising human impacts caused by recreational use are: -Walk only on formed tracks, don’t make new ones -Camp only in designated areas -Use fuel stoves -Don’t remove rocks, ground litter, plants or animals etc. -Don’t light fires of days of total fire ban. -Remove all rubbish -Abide by catch size & limit regulations when fishing. -Take vehicles (cars, motorbikes etc) on designated tracks. The methods for minimising human impacts caused by commercial use are: -Abide by catch size & limit regulations when fishing. -Fish in designated areas with an appropriate licence. -Protect & maintain remnants of specific ecosystems on the land (eg. Native grasslands etc) -Restore plant communities & habitat by revegetation programs. -Dispose of waste products appropriately. -Harvest trees that are at their optimum size & replant for future harvests. These methods are used by many people in order to protect the environment.
Conflicts of Interest Successful management is vital for the long-term security of the park. Choose 2 different user groups and list the possible conflicts that may arise between them over the use of the park. Two different user groups that both use the Grampians & may have conflicts of interest could be between bushwalkers & mountain bike riders. As there are a lot more bushwalkers’ tracks compared to mountain bike tracks, the cyclists could use one of the bushwalking tracks & run into walkers. Arguments could arise between the two groups & cause problems. One argument could be that the biker shouldn’t be on the bushwalkers track, & another argument could be that there are barely any bike tracks & there are plenty of walking tracks for walkers to go on.
Mobile Blogs from the Pinnacle Lance’s Mobile Blog The impact Lance is talking about is the railing & steps up towards the Pinnacle. This impact could be conservational as it restricts walkers to only one pathways, instead of using many other tracks. So that helps the environment by only using one walkway. The positives that Lance mentions are that it helps give visitors some degree of safety by using the railings & steps so they don’t slip or fall, & the negatives that he mentions is that it affects the flora & fauna of that area because the visitors are treading on the flora & the building of the walkway would have destroyed habitats for animals. The interest groups that would contribute to the impacts at the Pinnacle would be tourists that come & want to see the views & experience the climb up to the top. My Mobile Blog In my blog, I was talking about the crushing of the flora along the tracks & off the side of the tracks. This type of impact is recreational as it has been caused by tourists walking up & down the track. The ways that the Park Management group has tried to limit this damage from happening is that there are arrows that point people in the right direction, instead of wondering off the track & getting lost.
Land Classification of the Grampians (zoning) Viewing the Grampians before they had been classified, I would call it a National Park as it has many national significant natural landscapes & features. There are not many places in Australia that has boasts cultural, historic & scenic additions. The Grampians has many native flora & fauna that needs to be protected, there are also many sights that have archaeological significance to it also. The interest groups that this decision will impact on are mainly the agricultural/farming groups as they cannot use the resources available to them in this region as they are now protected. They cannot place livestock on the plains, they cannot use the water resource that is available, they cannot use the ground for cropping uses etc.