Temperate grasslands and grassy woodlands are among the most under-represented ecosystems in Australia’s conservation estate, and are recognised nationally as among the most threatened vegetation types. The idea for the Mt Lofty Ranges Grassy Woodland Network evolved from a Canberra workshop attended by Penny Paton (Nature Conservation Society of SA's Temperate Woodlands Campaigner) in 2000 dealing with Conservation Management Networks, which were being trialled in NSW on White Box Grassy Woodlands.
In 2004 this crystallized when Penny was struck by the number of near-metropolitan groups working in grey box woodlands and she wondered if they knew that others were working next door on exactly the same issues. A successful Wildlife Conservation Grant in 2005 allowed them to trial the concept in the Mount Lofty Ranges, that proved to be successful.
As well as offering a way of getting to know others working in similar vegetation types, the Network provided free newsletters, workshops on practical and theoretical issues, opportunities to visit other sites with similar problems and opportunities to gain insights into how different animals use grassy woodlands, and what effects weeding may have on fauna.
This group did not aim to replace invaluable groups like Bush For Life or other "Friends of" groups, but rather served to offer additional help where required.
Penny produced a number of newsletters as a service to network members and the public that contain useful information about conservation and management of grassy woodlands. You can download these newsletters by clicking on the links below.
Although the Network wound up in 2011, several projects continue:
The Friends of Cromer Conservation Park are still working in the park on weed management in conjunction with the Upper Torrens Land Management Project and DEWNR;
Penny continues to work on grassy woodlands in the Mt Crawford area with Forestry SA; and
Penny continues to partner with SA Water and NCSSA in management of grey box woodland at Happy Valley Reservoir.
Further information about the conservation and management of Grey box (Eucalyptus microcarpa) grassy woodlands and Peppermint box (Eucalyptus odorata) grassy woodland of South Australia is accessible on the DEWNR website.