How to look after swamps

Should you graze wetlands or leave them unstocked? And then, at what stocking rate, for how long and at what time of the year? A basic starting point is that the continued survival of native plants depends on them being able to complete their life cycle, including that they have the opportunity to add seed to the seedbank.

Grazing can be used in some circumstances to reduce weed competition where the weedy plant, for example phalaris, would otherwise dominate the community. Grazing can also create a variable canopy structure (some bare patches and some more tufted) which promotes niches for a greater range of species to grow. One local method is where sheep are brought onto the swamp in late summer, after the native species have finished flowering.

The webpage A guide to livestock grazing on wetlands contains a link to a detailed booklet (ARI technical report 265) with management tools for making informed decisions about how and when to let stock onto swamps. Further information can be found in the range of documents which cover different aspects of wetland management are available here(1) from DELWP in Victoria.

A recent in-depth literature review on the current state of knowledge about wetland restoration relevant to temperate Australia is available here(2).


(1) Peters, G. et al., 2015. A Guide to Managing Livestock Grazing in Victoria’s Wetlands. Decision Framework and Guidelines — Version 1.0. Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research Technical Report Series No. 265.
(2) Roberts, J. et al., 2017. Vegetation recovery in inland wetlands: an Australian perspective. Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research Technical Report Series No. 270.