Dandenong Ranges

Dandenong Ranges Wildlife Recovery, Weed Management and Fuel Reduction Program

The rolling hills, weathered gullies and dense rainforests of the Dandenong Ranges conjure fond memories of Sunday drives and weekends away for millions of Melbournians. It is the closest cool temperate rainforest to Melbourne and attracts visitors from all over the world. 

What many people don’t realise is that the rainforest we’ve grown to love is under threat. Introduced pest plants and animals are destroying the native environment. What may look like an abundance of new plant and animal species is actually a life threatening infestation. 

Weeds like Sycamore Maple, Cape Ivy, Radiata Pine Trees and English Holly can be beautiful in their natural environment. But in the Dandenong Ranges, they dominate and smother the fragile native vegetation, taking away food sources and habitat for native animals. They slowly eliminate a wide variety of native plant and animal species, threatening this entire unique ecosystem. As well as being a threat to the biodiversity, many of these weed species pose a serious fire threat to nearby communities.

Collaborating with local stakeholders, the Port Phillip & Westernport CMA designed a community-led program focused on wildlife recovery, protecting threatened species, and controlling weeds and pest animals, as well as reducing fire risk to communities.

With funding of $3 million over three years from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program, the Port Philip & Westernport CMA and community delivered the Dandenong Ranges Wildlife Recovery, Weed Control and Fuel Reduction Program.

The program provided grant funding to empower passionate and motivated community groups to undertake activities including extensive and large-scale weed removal, planting of native species and fuel reduction burning, as well as community events and training, in areas that were priorities for local action. More than $2 million in funding was allocated for the Dandenong Ranges Environmental and Bushfire Reduction Community Grants, with the works completed in June 2017.

Achievements ebook

The below ebook is a snapshot of the stories of success, which celebrate the incredible efforts of dedicated friends groups, community groups, councils, local CFA brigades, Landcare networks and groups and the Wurundjeri Council, who all worked together with a shared vision to save the Dandenong Ranges.