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      Biosphere Reserve Information



  General Description   The Biosphere Reserve includes the whole of Mornington Peninsula Shire and parts of the City of Frankston, and coastal areas of the municipalities of Casey, Cardinia and Bass Coast including Phillip and French Islands. Western Port, which is also a Ramsar Site, consists of a coastal embayment incorporating vast relatively undisturbed mudflats with salt marsh vegetation. It is also considered as an internationally important feeding and roosting area for numerous species of summering waders, many of which are listed under the bilateral Migratory Birds Agreements (with Japan and China). The site periodically supports over 10,000 waders and 10,000 ducks and swans, and a rich invertebrate fauna of some 1,380 species. There is intensive use by commercial shipping in the whole Biosphere Reserve. More than 180,000 inhabitants (2002) live on a permanent basis in the biosphere reserve (270,000 seasonally). Human activities as commercial fishing, livestock raising, land clearance and its impact on water quality, and the enormous demands on the marine environment make it vital to deal with the issue of sustainable use within the region. More than 17,000 tourists (2002) visit the area annually. The biosphere reserve has Federal, State and Local Government support, taking on a holistic approach to conservation. It is complemented by Mornington Peninsula Shire’s Sustainable Peninsula Initiative, which includes a variety of programmes and activities to achieve sustainable outcomes. The main goal of the Biosphere Reserve is to enable groups and individuals to achieve ecologically sustainable use and development of the region’s natural and cultural resources.
  Major ecosystem type   Evergreen sclerophyllous forests, woodlands or scrub including wetlands, mangroves and marine ecosystems
  Major habitats & land cover types   Forests (cool temperate rainforest, damp forest, grassy forest, herb-rich foothill forest, riparian forest, shrubby gully forest, warm temperate rainforest, wet forest) with Eucalyptus sp., Acacia sp., Coprosma quadrifolia etc.; woodland/heathland (creekline herb-rich woodland, damp heathland, damp heathy woodland, damp sands herb-rich woodland, grassy woodland, gully woodland, heathy woodland, plains grassy woodland, sand heathland, sandy stream woodland, wet heathland) including Eucalyptus sp., Allocasuarina littoralis, Banksia marginata etc.; wetland / swamp (aquatic herbland, plains grassland, plains grassy wetland, reed swamp, riparian scrub, sedge wetland, swamp scrub, swampy riparian woodland, swampy woodland) with Melaleuca spp., Eucalyptus ovata, Phragmites australis, Typha domingensis etc.; dry coastal ecosystems (berm grassy shrubland, bird colony succulent herbland, calcareous swale grassland, coast Banksia woodland, coastal alkaline scrub, coastal dune grassland, coastal dune scrub, coastal headland scrub, coastal tussock grassland, spray-zone coastal shrubland) including Atriplex cinerea, Banksia integrifolia, Leptospermum laevigatum, Allocasuarina verticillata etc.; wet coastal ecosystems (brackish wetland, coastal salt marsh, estuarine flats grassland, estuarine swamp scrub, mangrove shrubland) characterized by Avicennia marina, Sclerostegia arbuscula, Suaeda australis, Sarcocornia quinqueflora etc.; marine ecosystems (intertidal rocky shores, subidal reefs, seagrass beds, sheltered intertidal flats, mangroves, sandy beaches, subtidal soft substrates, pelagic environments) with Zostera muelleri, Heterozostera tasmanica, Amphibolis antarctica etc.; residential / industrial areas; agricultural areas
  Location   38°20'00''S; 145°20'00''E
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   214,200
  Core area(s)   9,300
  Buffer zone(s)   63,600 (of which marine: 50,100)
  Transition area(s) when given   141,300 (of which marine: 18,500)
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   -20 to +898
  Year designated   2002
  Administrative authorities   The Mornington Peninsula and Western Port Biosphere Reserve Foundation
  Brief description   Monitoring of water quality (by Melbourne Water)
EPA chemical turbidity and suspended solids monitoring of streams (
Climatic data (
The Geological Survey of Victoria (NRE) program and seismic monitoring (
Genetic variation in seagrasses
Impacts of biocides on the fresh and marine waters of Western Port, and surface water run-off on dairy farms
Research and monitoring on invasive plant species and invertebrate pests in relation to biological control
Research and monitoring on feral animal species
Research on fishing gear selectivity to reduce by-catch
Impacts of introduced marine invertebrates
Monitoring of seagrasses and fish stocks
Research and monitoring on Little Penguins, sea and shore birds of Western Port (since 1984) including international migratory waders
Counting of shore birds at 20 high tide roosting sites in Western Port three times a year
Permanent biodiversity monitoring plots including more than 3000 vegetation quadrats, continuous forest inventory plots, permanent water sampling plots, and monitoring plots for effectiveness of biological control
Studies of the communities of the area including demographic and economic profiles
Study into the traditional use of native plants by Aboriginal Victorians
Other socio-economic studies is being conducted by the DOI
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   n.a.
  Biodiversity   n.a.
  Socio-economic   n.a.
  Integrated monitoring   n.a.
  Contact address   Jack Krohn
Mornington Peninsula Western Port Biosphere Reserve Foundation Ltd
PO Box 261
3915 Hastings, Victoria
  Telephone   (61.03) 5979 2167
  Fax   (61.03) 5979 2167
  Web site

Last updated: 22/03/2007

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