Your gateway to a wide range of natural resources information and associated maps

Victorian Resources Online

Baw Baw (BB)

A study of the land in the Catchment of Gippsland Lakes - Vol 2 - land system Baw Baw- geoArea: 84 sq. km (0.4%)

Areas of Baw Baw land system occur in the west of the East Victorian Uplands on plateaux in the subalpine zone. The surfaces of these plateaux are derived from the etch surface which existed below the Mesozoic deeply weathered regolith. Erosion has exposed the fresh granodiorite which is being preferentially dissected along joints in the rock. The terrain is hilly with short, steep slopes, small alluvial flats and frequent bogs. Rocky outcrops, including exfoliating tors, are common.

Low temperature and high rainfall combine to produce soils which are friable and acidic, with very high concentrations of organic matter in the topsoil and little textural change down the profile. In spite of excellent infiltration characteristics, surface run-off can occur when the subsoil is frozen or where the soils are relatively shallow.

A study of the land in the Catchment of Gippsland Lakes - Vol 2 - land system Baw Baw- image
Shrubby woodland of Eucalyptus pauciflora (white sallee) and open heath with outcrops of granite tors on the low rounded hills of the Baw Baw Plateau
This part of the subalpine tract carries mainly shrubby woodland I or open forest I on more-protected sites. Open heath occurs on rocky and/or exposed sites. A different species composition of open heath occurs on the colluvial footslopes and alluvial flats. Closed sedgeland grows with Sphagnum cristatum in the hogs.

Rainfall, mean (mm)
Temperature, mean (oC)
Seasonal growth limitations

Annual 1500 – 2500; lowest January or February (80 - 120); highest August or September (180 - 250)

Annual 4-8; lowest July (-2 – 0), highest February (11 – 13)
Temperature <100C (av.): April – October
Rainfall < potential evapotranspiration: February, frequent winter snow
Age, lithology

Devonian: Baw Baw and Toorongo granodiorite
Elevation range (m)
Relative relief (m)
Drainage pattern
Drainage density (km/km2)

Hilly terrain with joint-based dissection patterns

950 – 1560
160 – 280
PRESENT LAND USEMostly uncleared: mostly within Baw Baw National Park with main uses being nature conservation and recreation – bushwalking and skiing.
Small portion cleared for ski runs and ski village.

A study of the land in the Catchment of Gippsland Lakes - Vol 2 - land system Baw Baw- csA study of the land in the Catchment of Gippsland Lakes - Vol 2 - land system Baw Baw- graph

Percentage of land system
Diagnostic features
Steep short slopes, often with rock outcrop
Crests and less steep upper slopes, often
with rock outcrop
Footslopes and flats, often with peat hogs and drained by small streams
Slope %, typical and (range)
Slope shape
20 - 30. (15 - 60)
Straight to convex
10 - 15, (0 - 30)
<1, (0 - 5)
Parent material
Colluvium and alluvium
Friable black or very dark, organic sandy loam to sandy clay loam, merging into dark brown or dark greyish brown sandy loam to sandy clay loam. May be stony. Variable depth
Black fibrous peat or muck of varying depth overlying mineral soil. Footslopes with soil similar to components 1 and 2 but not stony.
Alpine Humus Soils/Brown Earths
Uc5.21. Uc6.11, Um6.12, Um7.11
Acid Peats, Humic Gleys. Alpine Humus Soils
O, Uc5.21
Surface texture
Sandy loam to sandy clay loam
Surface consistence
Soft to slightly hard
Depth (m)
0.5 - 1.2
Nutrient status
Low to moderate
Very low
Available soil water capacity
Moderate to high
High to very high
Perviousness to water
Moderate to rapid
Very poor to somewhat poor
Exposed stone (%)
Variable; 0 - 40
0 - 5
Sampled profile number
Structure of vegetation and characteristic species of dominant stratum
(+ Predominant species)
Variable — mainly shrubby woodland I or open forest I, usually of E. pauciflora; occasionally E. glaucescens or Nothofagus cunninghamii. On exposed and/or rocky sites, open heath of Pultenaea muelleri, Helichrysum hookeri and Grevillea australis. Minor occurrences of herbfield of Poa spp., Celmisia asteliifolia and Stylidium graminifolium
Open heath with Richea continentis, Epacris paludosa, E. microphylla and Baeckea gunniana bordering bogs with closed sedgeland of Calorophus lateriflorus, Carex
gaudichaudiana. Carex appressa and Sphagnum cristatum

Affected process and trend
Primary resultant deterioration
Casual activities
Primary off-site process
Susceptibility of components
Incidence with components
    Alteration of vegetation:
    — reduction in leaf area, rooting depth and/or perenniality
    Reduced transpiration.
    resulting in:

    a) increased deep
    percolation and leaching

    b) decreased fog drip

    c) increased rate of

    d) increased depth of
    soil freezing

    Nutrient loss




Not determined



l; low

Not determined



Not determined

Removal of trees

Removal of trees

Removal of trees

Removal of trees

    Increased movement of water to groundwater; increased base-flow of streams

    Decreased base-flow of streams

    Increased spring and decreased summer stream flow


    Increased exposure of surface soil
    Increased overland flow and soil detachment.

    Increased frost heave and soil detachment
    Sheet and rill erosion

    Wind, sheet and rill erosion
12; low

1.2; moderate

Clearing, burning, overgrazing, road building and other earth-moving activities, trafficking by stock and vehicles.
    Increased flash flows and sediment load.
    Increased sediment load
    Increased physical pressure on soil
    Increased compaction


    reduced infiltration
    Structure decline

    Sheet and rill erosion
12; moderate - high
3: high

1,2; low
Uncommon; locally severe near construction sites, ski slopes and tracks

Increased trafficking by vehicles and humans

As for sheet and rill
erosion above

    Increased spring and decreased summer stream flow
    Increased soil disruption
    Increased soil break-up
Gully and rill erosion

Streambank erosion
1,2; high

3; moderate
Uncommon: locally severe along tracks

Uncommon; locally severe
Trafficking by vehicles and humans

Trafficking by stock (in the past) and humans
    Increased sediment load.

    Increased sediment load
    and turbidity
    Comments: In the past, stock have compacted the moss (Sphagnum spp.) in component 3 caused channelling, drainage of bogs and loss of peat. Regeneration and of vegetative cover is slow and difficult because the unfavourable climate.
Page top