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The loss of Australia’s vast grassland ecosystems and the steps that are being taken to restore them.


Impact areas



  • DIRECTOR Mark Newbound

  • PRODUCER Mark Newbound



In 1788 grasslands and open woodlands covered the lowland plains of South Eastern Australia. These places were biologically rich and beautiful. Over seven hundred species of plants formed the grasslands, typically structured by tussocky grasses interspersed with spring flowering forbs. Early European explorers often compared the scenery to a managed English gentleman’s park. This is not surprising as the landscape was likely shaped this way by Indigenous Australians' knowledgeable use of fire.
The form of grasslands was their undoing when Europeans colonised Australia. Their open nature made them perfect for livestock pasture and in a short time tens of millions of sheep were grazing plants beyond recovery. What was not lost to sheep fell to rabbits and competition from introduced pasture and agricultural weeds. Foxes preyed on mammals and birds deprived of grassy cover and poorly adapted to predation. The grasslands were reduced to less than 1% of their original cover - over 30,000 s

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Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

People in Australia have forgotten that there were once grasslands in large parts of south eastern Australia. These areas have been lost to farming. There are groups who are trying to restore grasslands, but lack support because no-one knows why what they are doing is important.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

The film aims to connect people to the natural history of the place where they live, and by doing this encourage positive behaviour towards grasslands.


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

Given the scale of ecological damage to grasslands, it is surprising how few people know about it. It seems that our view of the Australian rural landscape is that the way it is now is the way it has always been. The documentary aims to raise awareness about grasslands and encourage people to preserve what is there and recreate some of what is lost.


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?


Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

Protect existing grasslands and restore grasslands that have been lost

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

There will be increased funding for grassland restoration projects and grassland protection.