What does the future hold for the Otway Ranges in Southwest Victoria?

News > Our Patron and Board

The future of Victoria’s Otway Ranges is being considered by over 200 researchers, land managers, and community members in Colac today, who will discuss how the latest ecological research can be best applied to benefit the environment & Country.

The big questions being discussed include how planned burns affect native small mammals? How can we protect
heathlands and grasstrees from dieback? whether it’s possible to translocate the threatened swamp antechinus
to safe locations? What are the best methods for controlling feral pigs? and how biocultural knowledge can be
used as the basis for managing Country.

“This Forum is a unique demonstration of how stakeholders can collaborate to effectively improve outcomes for
Country,” says Dr Jack Pascoe, who has helped convene the forum with the Conservation Ecology Centre for the
eighth year running.

“I don’t know of another region in Victoria or Australia where researchers meet annually with the local land
managers, and where the knowledge that scientists are generating is directly being put into practice on the

“It takes usually years for data to be published, and even then, it’s in scientific journals which very few land
managers have access to. The forum acts as a bridge between science and practice”.

The Otways is a rugged landscape that provides shelter and habitat for species that are struggling elsewhere. It
was spared from the ravages of the Black Saturday bushfire, but still faces a range of threats from wildfire and
inappropriate panned burning, feral animals like foxes, cats, pigs and deer, as well as from a changing climate.

We’ve still got a lot of work to do if we want to ensure that this beautiful landscape not only survives, but
thrives into the future, says Conservation Ecology Centre CEO Lizzie Corke OAM.

The 2023 Otways Ecological Research Forum was held on Wednesday 30th August at Colac Otway
Performing Arts and Cultural Centre.

Abstracts and further details about the forum are available at:

Photos of the day, or of researchers in the field, can also be made available. Or you can find a selection here:

Media Contact: Toni Stevens, Communication & Stakeholder Engagement Manager, Conservation Ecology
Centre on or 0401763130.