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Characteristics of Tasmanian estuaries and catchments : physical attributes, population and land use

Graddon, DJ 1997 , 'Characteristics of Tasmanian estuaries and catchments : physical attributes, population and land use', Coursework Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Estuaries are the interface between the sea and drainage from the land. They can be
severely affected by human activities within the catchment. Little is known of the
conservation status of Tasmania's estuarine environments. This research is part of an
Ocean Rescue 2000 (0R2000) funded project titled 'Regional classification of
Tasmanian coastal waters - stage 2, estuaries'. The aim of this research was to augment
available data on Tasmanian estuaries by deriving data on the physical attributes and
human land use of the catchments of Tasmanian estuaries, and to rank catchments
according to their conservation status and degree of human impact. The data derived
complements the concurrent survey of estuarine biota and habitats being done as the
major part of the 0R2000 project.
The thesis mapped the catchments of 122 estuaries identified around the coastline of
mainland Tasmania and the Bass Strait islands. These catchments were classified into five
groups based on the physical attributes derived for each catchment. The division largely
reflected the unique hydrological characteristics of the Tasmanian environment.
Catchments in the west and south are characterised by high annual rainfall and high
runoff. Catchments in the north-west and south-east have moderate rainfall and runoff,
while catchments in the east, north and on the Bass Strait islands are relatively dry.
Land clearance and broad categories of land use were determined for 60 catchments
using available data derived from satellite images. Tasmanian catchments are highly
conserved in comparison with most mainland states of Australia. Eleven out of these 60
catchments can be considered to be pristine with little human impact on the catchment or
estuarine conservation values. More than 50% of all catchments are relatively
uninhabited, particularly those catchments in the south and west of the state. However a
small number of catchments are severely impacted by large scale land clearance and many
others are threatened by human impacts. The degree of land clearance and human
developments was found to increase greatly with proximity to estuaries. The highest
levels of land clearance, population and urban development were detected in catchments
along the south-east, east and north coasts of Tasmania.

Item Type: Thesis - Coursework Master
Authors/Creators:Graddon, DJ
Keywords: Estuarine ecology
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1997 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (M.Env.St.)--University of Tasmania, 1998. Includes bibliographical references

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