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Destruction of coastal ecosystems


G Piper

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Union st. Meadowbank NSW 2114
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A study of coastal areas from Fraser Island in Queensland to the Coorong in South Australia indicates that the Australian ethic does not include conservation of natural vegetation types nor of landscape beauty. The destructive developments are urban subdivisions down to the high water mark (HWM), clearing of mangroves and the filling in of saltmarshes for extra industrial areas, sand mining, logging, clear felling and canal estate. Roads are built parallel to the sea, eve on the second frontal dune. Houses are placed on and around headlands, a beautiful view for the residents but all the visitor sees is the back of houses. A series of private jetties from houses with absolute waterfrontage provide an obstacle race for the public who wish to walk around the beach at low tide. Rock walls built to prevent damage to houses on the foredunes leave little beach to sit upon and assist in further erosion of the beach sand. Victoria has been the least affected state because there is a rim of public land about HWM, the tourist pressure is not so great and the establishment of the Land Conservation Council by the Government. The journey through Victoria by coast road from Aireys Inlet past Lorne to Cape Patton is unique as it is a magnificent series of forested hills forming promontories. The vegetation commences immediately above HWM – spinifex, club rush, herbs to tea-tree and then to a shrubland rish in flowers in the spring. As the hills ascend, the eucalyptus appear and over the rise there is open forest. Much of the hillside is rock to the HWM and the vegetation is undisturbed. The beauty is being marred by houses on a patch of private land on top of the most prominent hill, Big Hill, and along the rim at Pt. Stuart.
How to Cite: Piper, G., 2010. Destruction of coastal ecosystems. Wetlands Australia, 1(1), pp.24–25. DOI:
Published on 04 Jan 2010.
Peer Reviewed


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