Otways Ecological Research Forum

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The annual Otways Ecological Research Forum brings together researchers, land managers, and other interested parties from across the Otways to share the latest ecological research being undertaken across the national park, state forests and on private land. 

The 2022 Otways Ecological Research Forum will be held on Thursday 4 August at the Geelong Librarybook to attend here.

In previous years this event has been called the ‘Otways Threatened Species Research Forum’, but this year we renamed the forum to reflect that it is inclusive of all types of ecological research in the Otways, as well as the interaction of this research with land management.

If you have relevant research you’d like to present on the day, please get in touch and let us know by emailing

As always, you don’t need to be a researcher to attend. We welcome landowners, land managers, and anyone interested in conservation to come along and hear about the excellent research being conducted across the Otways.

If you have a friend or colleague you think would like to attend, please encourage them to send their contact details to to receive updates about the event.

Date: Thursday 4 August 9am to 5pm
Venue: Wurdi Youang Room in the Geelong Library and Heritage Centre, 51 Little Malop St, Geelong Vic 3220
Cost: Free

In 2020, the forum was cancelled due to covid-19, but an update was collated and is available here.

In 2021, the forum was held online and the video recordings of many of the presentations are available to view here.

Research presented in the first session included:

  • How we’re getting more detailed data on Long-nosed Potoroos response to fire by attaching GPS collars to them and monitoring how they use the landscape before and after planned burns in the Carlisle Heath.
  • How camera grids are giving us a detailed overview of how species, including natives like potoroos and ferals such as foxes and cats, are using planned burn blocks before and after fire.
  • Whether it’s possible to achieve fuel hazard reduction and conservation at the same time. Testing how different burn scenarios can minimise the impact of wildfire in the Carlisle Heath, and the impact on Long-nosed Potoroos.
  • Whether controlling predators like foxes can help make small mammals like potoroos and bandicoots more resilient to fire.
  • How camera traps and scats are helping track down the Pookila (New Holland Mouse), Koonoomoo (Smokey Mouse) and Tooarrana (Broad-toothed Rat), which are known from the Otways but rarely seen.

The second session focused in on some threats, covering:

  • How data, modelling and fancy new technology – like LiDAR scanners – are helping DELWP plan their fuel reduction burns in the Otways. Their analysis includes information on fuel hazard, but also about threatened species, biodiversity, weeds and from traditional owners.
  • How fire effects Long-nosed Potoroos – using insights gained from the University of Melbourne’s interactive web-based tool for assessing relationships between species, fire and habitat.
  • How we balance bike activity with biodiversity in conservation areas as mountain biking becomes increasingly popular. For example, phytophthora, which causes vegetation dieback, has been a huge consideration in the design and upgrade of trails in Forrest.
  • How lizards, birds, snakes and small mammals have all been making use of the protection offered by post-fire refuges in the Otways. These artificial shelters are being tested by Deakin University PhD candidate Darcy Watchorn to see if they help small mammals persist after fire.
  • How identifying priority protection areas and developing management interventions in these areas will be crucial in protecting plant and animal biodiversity from ‘dieback’ caused by phytophthora in the Otways.
  • How to protect the small mammals of the Otways, we need to know where they are. Barbara Wilson and her team have pulled a lot of data together and are undertaking surveys where there are gaps, to identify where some of the most vulnerable are holding on, as a part of the Wild Otways Initiative.
  • How knowledge is power and monitoring as a part of the Wild Otways Initiative is helping control feral pigs and their impact on Otways ecosystems and threatened species.