So, what are alpine bogs?
Dr Arn Tolsma, Disturbance Ecology Lead at DELWP’s Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research says they’re essentially a high-country wetland. “They’re home to some species found nowhere else in the world”, he says. “They play a key role in sustaining water quality and biological diversity in the alps and store information about changes in fire regimes and vegetation over millenia. But they face many threats.”
Those include invasive plants and animals and, as climate change bites harder, less rainfall and more frequent and severe bushfires. Warmer, drier conditions could see dryland shrubs and trees encroaching on the bogs, compounding their impact by soaking up even more water.
Animals, including feral horses and deer, pose a threat by trampling sensitive species, increasing erosion and disturbing the soil as they roll around in the bogs (wallowing) which risk converting whole bogs to a short-grazed turf.
Since 2004, scientists from have been mapping the locations of Victoria’s alpine bogs. So far, 4372 hectares of bogs have been recorded at or above 1000 metres and almost 80 per cent of these are in national parks.
Land managers, like Parks Victoria, are taking steps to control invasive willow, and feral animals. They’re also protecting the bogs when fighting bushfires and rehabilitating them after fires have been through.
Currently, Parks Victoria is monitoring 62 Victorian alpine bogs to understand how they’re faring in different regions and how to manage them most effectively.
An alpine bog damaged by feral horses
Page last updated: 09/04/19