Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities - March 2010
Full document - very large files
- Gippsland Lakes Ramsar site Ecological Character Description (PDF - 28 MB) | Gippsland Lakes Ramsar site Ecological Character Description(Word - 42 MB)
- Gippsland Lakes Ramsar site Ecological Character Description
- Cover, acknowledgements, contents and executive summary (PDF - 492 KB) | Cover, acknowledgements, contents and executive summary (Word - 90 KB)
- Chapter 1 Introduction and Chapter 2 General Description (PDF - 1541 KB) | Chapters 1 Introduction, and 2 General Description(Word - 1912 KB)
- Chapter 3 Description of Ecological Character (PDF - 1496 KB) | Chapter 3 Description of Ecological Character (Word - 1966 KB)
- Chapter 3 - Figure 22 Conceptual model of Gippsland Lakes lagoons (PDF - 300 KB) | Chapter 3 Figure 22 Conceptual model of Gippsland Lakes lagoons (Word - 11378 KB)
- Chapter 3 - Figure 23 Conceptual model of Gippsland Lakes seagrass beds (PDF - 246 KB) | Chapter 3 Figure 23 Conceptual model of Gippsland Lakes seagrass beds (Word - 9490 KB)
- Chapter 3 - Figure 24 Conceptual model of Gippsland Lakes fringing wetlands (PDF - 296 KB) | Chapter 3 Figure 24 Conceptual model of Gippsland Lakes fringing wetlands (Word - 12292 KB)
- Chapter 4 Limits of Acceptable Change and Chapter 5 Threats to Ecological Character (PDF - 279 KB) | Chapter 4 Limits of Acceptable Change and Chapter 5 Threats to Ecological Character (Word - 368 KB)
- Chapter 6 Changes to Ecological Character and Chapter 7 Information Gaps, Monitoring and Education (PDF - 651 KB) | Chapter 6 Changes to Ecological Character and Chapter 7 Information Gaps, Monitoring and Education (Word - 484 KB)
- Chapter 8 References and Chapter 9 Glossary of Terms (PDF - 124 KB) | Chapter 8 References and Chapter 9 Glossary of Terms (Word - 348 KB)
- Appendices (PDF - 1077 KB) | Appendices (Word - 1347 KB)
About the document
An Ecological Character Description describes the ecological character of a wetland at the time of its listing as a Wetland of International Importance. The Ecological Character Description is a fundamental management tool for site managers, forming the basis of management planning and action as well as including guidance on site monitoring requirements to detect changes in the ecological character of the site.
The Gippsland Ramsar site is located in coastal Victoria in the Southeast Coast Drainage Division, situated east of the Latrobe Valley and south of the Eastern Highlands. It consists of a group of coastal lagoons and marsh environments that are separated from the sea by a barrier system of sand dunes and fringed on the seaward side by the Ninety Mile Beach. The Gippsland Lakes system is linked to the sea by an artificial entrance, opened in 1889, where the town of Lakes Entrance is now situated. The main lagoons/lakes are fed by a number of river systems. The site covers an area of 60,015 hectares.
The ecological character of a wetland is the sum of all the components, processes and services of that wetland. Ecosystem components are physical, chemical and biological parts of a wetland, from large-scale to very small-scale (e.g. habitat, species and genes). Ecosystem processes are the dynamic forces within an ecosystem. They include all those processes that occur between organisms and within and between populations and communities, including interactions with the non-living environment that result in existing ecosystems and bring about changes in ecosystems over time. Ecosystem services are the benefits that people receive from ecosystems.
This document describes the critical components, processes and services for the Gippsland Lakes Ramsar site. The Ramsar site has 12 critical components, processes and services, covering wetland habitats, wetland flora and fauna, hydrological regime, waterbird breeding functions, threatened species and fisheries resource values. The description also identifies limits of acceptable change which describe the range of variation which key aspects of the ecology of the site can vary without representing a change in the ecological character. Limits of acceptable change for the Gippsland Lakes Ramsar site have been proposed for all critical components, processes and benefits and services based on existing data.
This document also describes the current Ramsar listing criteria met by the site, the key threats and knowledge gaps for the Gippsland Lakes Ramsar site. Recommended monitoring needs and communication messages are also provided.
Further information on what Ecological Character Descriptions are and how critical components, processes and services are identified is available in the National Framework and Guidance for Describing the Ecological Character of Australian Ramsar Wetlands – Module 2 of the National Guidelines for Ramsar Wetlands – Implementing the Ramsar Convention in Australia.