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Land of Sweeping Plains

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Land of Sweeping Plains

Managing and Restoring the Native Grasslands of South-eastern Australia

Edited by:
Nicholas Williams   University of Melbourne
Adrian Marshall   University of Melbourne
John Morgan   La Trobe University

472 pages, 250 x 210 mm
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing

    Paperback - 2015
ISBN: 9781486300815 - AU $ 59.95

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Native temperate grasslands are Australia’s most threatened ecosystems. Grasslands have been eliminated from across much of their former extent and continue to be threatened by urban expansion, agricultural intensification, weed invasion and the uncertain impacts of climate change. Research, however, is showing us new ways to manage grasslands, and techniques for restoration are advancing. The importance of ongoing stewardship also means it is vital to develop new strategies to encourage a broader cross-section of society to understand and appreciate native grasslands and their ecology.

Land of Sweeping Plains synthesises the scientific literature in a readily accessible manner and includes a wealth of practical experience held by policy makers, farmers, community activists and on-ground grassland managers. It aims to provide all involved in grassland management and restoration with the technical information necessary to conserve and enhance native grasslands. For readers without the responsibility of management, such as students and those interested in biodiversity conservation, it provides a detailed understanding of native grassland ecology, management challenges and solutions and, importantly, inspiration to engage with this critically endangered ecosystem.

Practical, easy to read and richly illustrated, this book brings together the grassland knowledge of experts in ethnobotany, ecology, monitoring, planning, environmental psychology, community engagement, flora and fauna management, environmental restoration, agronomy, landscape architecture and urban design.


  • Practical and easy-to-read
  • Comprehensive and up-to-date
  • Written by experts for anyone involved in grassland restoration and management
  • Case studies demonstrate real issues and solutions
  • Includes grasslands in the urban context

About the Authors

Nicholas S.G. Williams and Adrian Marshall

Humans and grasslands – a social history
Beth Gott, Nicholas S.G. Williams and Mark Antos

The native temperate grasslands of south-eastern Australia
Nicholas S.G. Williams and John W. Morgan

The ecology and dynamics of temperate native grasslands in south-eastern Australia
John W. Morgan and Nicholas S.G. Williams

The wildlife of our grassy landscapes
Mark Antos and Nicholas S.G. Williams

Planning, documenting and monitoring for grassland management
Sarah Sharp, Georgia Garrard and Nathan Wong

Understanding the social context of native grasslands
Kathryn J.H. Williams

Working together – grassland management in the community
Karen Reid

Biomass management in native grasslands
John W. Morgan

Weed management in native grasslands
Randall Robinson

Integrating grassland conservation into farming practice
Nathan Wong and Josh Dorrough

Sourcing seed for grassland restoration
John Delpratt and Paul Gibson-Roy

The restoration of native grasslands
Paul Gibson-Roy and John Delpratt

Designing and planning for urban native grassland biodiversity
Adrian Marshall

The future of south-eastern Australia’s native temperate grasslands
Nicholas S.G. Williams, Adrian Marshall, John W. Morgan, John Delpratt, Paul Gibson-Roy and Nathan Wong


 Landcare groups, regional environmental organisations, NGOs such as Victorian National Parks Association and Greening Australia, catchment management authorities, farmers, indigenous organisations, contractors, landscape architects, planners and developers, tertiary institutions, academics and students. 

 "I couldn’t put it down… The mix of beauty, history and photos with data, evidence and science produces at once a scientific tome and an absorbing storybook."
Wendy Marriott, Growing Australian, September 2015, 16-17 <> "This book will give pleasure to anyone who enjoys our grassy landscapes, but it will also be an essential tool for groups such as Landcare, Wildcare, or Friends of Grasslands."
Nick Goldie, Cooma-Monaro Exress, 2015 <> "Land of Sweeping Plains provides an important reference and timely framework for stewardship of these diminished grasslands."
Julian Bull, Landscape Architecture Australia, February 2016, 70-71

"The Land of Sweeping Plains will, in itself, become an important legacy for the conservation of grasslands... This is the most thoroughly researched overview of grasslands research undertaken to date... No ecologist or interested field naturalist should be without this compendium written for a range of audiences in a non-technical and accessible style - a must-have for any library."
Louise Gilfedder, Austral Ecology, Vol 41(4), 2016, pp 10


 Nicholas (Nick) Williams is an urban ecologist and Senior Lecturer at the University of Melbourne. His PhD and other native grassland research has examined how urbanisation changes vegetation composition and distribution, the impact of slug herbivory and, more recently, restoration techniques, including attempting to recreate grassland communities on green roofs. This project is Nick’s way of giving something back to the grasslands that have enriched his life.

Adrian Marshall is a landscape architect, editor and writer, currently working at the University of Melbourne. As a landscape architect his focus is on matters of ecological importance. Recently, through the Victorian National Parks Association, he authored 'Start with the Grasslands', design guidelines to support native grasslands in the urban context.

John Morgan is a plant ecologist interested in the long-term dynamics of Australian tussock grasslands. His scientific research focuses on seedling regeneration and plant population processes, fire regimes, the effects of exotic plant species, and how these factors all affect species co-existence. He continues to marvel at the capacity of Kangaroo Grass to dominate grasslands, and hopes his legacy will be a better understanding of the ecology that underpins successful conservation and management of grasslands.


Related Titles
 Vegetation of Australian Riverine Landscapes    Pilbara Seed Atlas and Field Guide    Perth Plants    Gift Vouchers   The Science of Open Spaces    Mining in Ecologically Sensitive Landscapes    Against the Grain  


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