Australia's interest in the southern continent began in 1911 when Sir Douglas Mawson led an expedition to Commonwealth Bay to conduct a variety of scientific studies that included discovering the magnetic South Pole.
The coastal waters of Australia are generally low in nutrients all year round and are not highly productive (exceptions to this are the shallow waters of the tropics and the shallow shelf and gulf systems, such as Torres Strait).
The many alterations to Australian landscapes since European settlement (especially clearing of land for agricultural and urban development) have affected the processes by which rainwater enters the soil and flows into underground channels or creeks and rivers.
Australia is a land of diverse geographical and biological features. The natural features of our coasts are some of the most iconic in Australia—many of the ‘jewels in the crown’ of Australia’s World Heritage properties are in the coastal zone.
Desirable futures—that is, futures in which harmony exists between the demands that humans place on coastal environments and the sustainability of coastal ecosystems—are most likely if major reform of coastal governance is achieved in the next decade or sooner, so that strategic action can
The health of our inland water systems can be assessed according to the modification of the systems and the state and trends of their ecological processes, including habitat and biodiversity, and of native species populations.
Australia State of the Environment 2016 has been prepared by independent experts using the best available information to support assessments of environmental condition, pressures, management effectiveness, resilience, risks and outlook.
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We, the authors, acknowledge the traditional owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community; we pay respect to them and their cultures and to their elders both past and present.