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Western Port was chosen as a Biosphere Reserve because it has outstanding natural values, including a Ramsar wetland of international importance, on the fringe of the expanding city of Melbourne.

It is an area of great biological diversity due to its unusually wide range of habitat types.  These range from deep channels to seagrass meadows, mangroves, saltmarsh and melaleuca thickets.  It supports a large number of marine invertebrates and about 65% of Victoria’s bird species.  Western Port is listed under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, especially as waterfowl habitat (Ramsar Convention).  Many of the migratory birds using the area are listed under international agreements, including JAMBA, CAMBA , ROKAMBA and the Bonn Agreement.

National Conservation Significance:

  • French Island, especially the National Park area, which is relatively undisturbed and provides a continuous range of fox-free habitats.
  • Many significant indigenous plant species and communities, including rare, threatened and vulnerable species, such as the endangered Southern Brown Bandicoot.
  • Numerous sites of geomorphological significance.
  • Sites of zoological significance, including breeding colonies of the Little Penguin, Koala, Australian Fur Seal, Hooded Plover and Short-tailed Shearwater.

Regional Conservation Significance:

  • Regionally important remnant indigenous vegetation in small reservations and on private land.
  • Highly scenic landscape values and sites of historic importance.