Otway Ranges, Vic (Gadubanud Country)
Home to mountainous vistas, tall trees, and fern-rich gullies, lies Crowes Lookout, only 170 kilometres south-west of Melbourne near the scenic town of Lavers Hill in the Otway Ranges. Crowes Lookout is characterised by towering trees of Mountain Grey-gum (Eucalyptus cypellocarpa), Southern Blue-gum (Eucalyptus globulus), and Messmate Stringybark (Eucalyptus obliqua), reaching over 60 metres tall and providing an arboreal ecosystem of micro-bats, gliders, and birds. The king of them all is the Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans), reaching over 90 metres tall and claiming the title of tallest tree species in the world.
The dense undergrowth at Crowes Lookout provides the perfect shelter for the Long-nosed Potoroo (Potorous tridactylus) and the Eastern Rufous Bristlebird (Dasyornis broadbenti). Of particular significance is the Otway Black Snail (Victaphanta compacta), a shiny-black carnivorous snail that lives only in the Otway Ranges.
In joining the Wilderlands project, Crowes Lookout is adding to the overall protection of wet forest ecosystems of the Otway Ranges.
Found in high-rainfall areas of south-eastern Australia, the Broad-tooth Rat is a herbivore that prefers dense grass and sedge cover of which it feeds on. One of its greatest threats is predation by foxes and cats.
Unique to the Otway Ranges, the Otway Black Snail is a large, glossy black and carnivorous land snail. It moves about the damp forest floor in search of other invertebrates and is particularly vulnerable to land clearing and fragmentation.
Threatened by habitat destruction and inappropriate burning regimes, the Rufous Bristlebird is a weak flyer with a poor dispersal capability. Security of suitable habitat will ensure this species' long term survival.
Prized for its wood properties, including woodchips for paper pulp, there are perhaps more Southern Blue-gum trees in plantations than in their natural habitat. In the Otways, this species may reach 70 metres in height.
In the heart of the Victorian Riverina, one of the most productive areas of agriculture in Australia and only 250 kilometres north of Melbourne, lies Budgerum, a farming district of flat, grassy plains alongside the Avoca River. Grassland communities are some of the most highly threatened ecosystems on the planet, with grassland reserves being reduced to small, fragmented patches across the landscape as land has been converted to agriculture. For this reason, protection of the remaining native grasslands across the Victorian Riverina is critical to the long-term survival of species that call this community their home. Examples of species dependent on these grassy ecosystems include the critically endangered Plains Wanderer and the nationally endangered Turnip Copperburr.