Perception of native grassland in southeastern Australia


  • Kathryn Williams,

  • John Cary

  • Kathryn Williams is a lecturer at the Institute of Land and Food Resources, University of Melbourne (500 Yarra Boulevard, Richmond, Victoria, 3021, Tel: +61 3 9250 6800, John Cary is Principal Research Scientist at the Social Science Centre, Bureau of Rural Sciences, Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry — Australia (500 Yarra Boulevard, Richmond, Victoria, 3021, Tel: +61 3 9818 3763, This research forms part of a larger project that examined both urban and rural community perceptions of native vegetation.


Summary Native grasslands are considered to be one of Australia’s most threatened ecosystems, yet relatively little is known about human preferences and attitudes that contribute to continued degradation of these landscapes. In a study conducted in southeastern Australia, landholders were asked to assess the agricultural, ecological and aesthetic value of native grasslands and other rural landscapes depicted in colour photographs. The results confirm low preference for treeless landscapes. Landholders’ preferences for native grassland on their own property appeared most closely related to the perceived agricultural and aesthetic value of the grassland scene. This paper discusses the implication of these findings for programmes seeking to protect native grasslands on private properties.

Key words environmental attitudes, native grasslands, perception.