Conservation

Location

The Jock Marshall Reserve (3 Ha) is located on the north east corner of the Monash University campus in Clayton, about 20km south east from Melbourne. The reserve is bounded by Briggs Hall and Jackomos Hall to the south, Deakin Hall to the north, Blackburn Road to the east and an Ornamental Lake to the west. Situated in the reserve are two teaching/research facilities - Building 42 near the main entrance car park and the Environmental Education Centre to the east near the Blackburn Road boundary.

Geological and Vegetation Features

The Jock Marshall Reserve was created in 1961 by the first council of Monash University. The reserve is situated in the Sandbelt region, an area that extends along the east coast of Port Phillip Bay in Victoria from the Yarra River mouth to Frankston. The Sandbelt region covers an area that includes the municipalities of Port Philip, Bayside, Glen Eira, Kingston and parts of Stonnington, Monash, Greater Dandenong, Casey and Frankston. As its name would suggest the geology of the Sandbelt region is predominantly sandstone, with a mixture of soils ranging from sands to sandy loams and clays in the upper soil layer.

Prior to European settlement the soils of the Sandbelt supported a number of different vegetation communities, which at the time included over 800 plant species. The landscape ecology of the Sandbelt included a matrix of woodlands, wetlands and heathlands once covered by a magnificent range of trees, shrubs, grasses and wildflowers. The forces of nature responsible for the natural surface soils in the region are a combination of marine currents, climate and vegetation. Wave action deposits sands and silts from the bay onto its beaches. These deposits are then transported across the inland landscape by winds. The Jock Marshall Reserve is located in an area associated with undulating sand dunes. These slightly more elevated areas have a greater draining capacity than low-lying areas. Over time the organic matter in these elevated areas has been deposited in the depressions between the dunes. Subsequently the soils in the depressions are more moist and have a higher percentage of organic matter.

Regional Context

Victoria's native vegetation communities are being mapped in a state-wide program coordinated by the Parks, Flora and Fauna Division of the Department of Sustainability and Environment. Ecological Vegetation Classes (EVC's) are the basic mapping units used for biodiversity planning and conservation assessment at landscape, regional and broader scales in Victoria. EVC's are developed by large scale forest type and plant community mapping. Bioregions are the broadscale mapping units for biodiversity planning in Victoria. Bioregions capture the patterns and ecological characteristics in the landscape.

Jock Marshall Reserve (EVC 175: Grassy Woodland) is an area that is characterised by variable open eucalypt woodlands to 15 m tall over a diverse ground layer of grasses and herbs. The shrub component is usually sparse. It occurs on sites with moderate fertility on gentle slopes or undulating hills on a range of geologies.

EVC 175: Grassy Woodland (Greater Grampians Bioregion)

Two types of grassy woodland communities existed in the Sandbelt region and both are represented in the Jock Marshall Reserve - Red Gum Grassy Woodland and Yellow Box Grassy Woodland.

The Red Gum Grassy Woodland community has an overstorey of River Red Gums with interspersed clumps of Black Wattle, Black She-oak and Blackwood. The ground layer is diverse with many grasses and sedges. The most common grasses are Kangaroo Grass and Weeping Grass, others include Wallaby Grasses and Common Lovegrass. Creepers such as Running Postman, Love Creeper and Creeping Bossiaea are dispersed through the grass tussocks. In wetter areas Swamp Gums are present, while Blackwoods and Swamp Paperbarks are common understorey trees. Red Gum Grassy Woodlands occur on alluvial and swamp deposit soils along broad creeks and drainage lines that are occasionally water logged in winter and spring.

The Yellow Box Grassy Woodland is a community of plants dominated by Yellow Box with the occasional Red Gum and Coast Manna Gum. Understorey trees include Lightwood, Sweet Bursaria, Cherry Ballart and Drooping She-oak. Uncommon are Hedge Wattle, Common Flat-pea, Common Rice-flower, Curved Rice-flower, Honey-pots and Creeping Bossiaea. The ground cover in this community is heavily covered by grasses including Kangaroo Grass, Wallaby Grass, Spear Grasses and Velvet Tussock-grass. Other species on the ground layer include Flax Lily, Kidney Weed Sword Sedge and Sheep's Burr.

Zoning

A management zoning scheme has been implemented in the reserve, these zones have been developed to:

Four management zones apply to the reserve - Conservation, Conservation and Research, Conservation and Teaching and Research/Teaching Development.

Management Directions

"To restore and enhance the range of habitats and experimental facilities available in the Jock Marshall Reserve in order to foster teaching and research, and to provide a resource for public outreach."

The Jock Marshall Reserve Management Plan defines the management directions, aims and management strategies for the reserve. The major management directions for the reserve are outlined below.