Home Management Coastal management in Australia
Summary regional descriptions of the Australian coast
Davies (1986) undertook a systematic description of the physical characteristics of Australian coasts which has not been superseded. Davies divides Australia's coastal landforms into four regions, based on:
• climate (particularly as it affects run-off)
• geological history (as it affects outcrop, landform and sediment supply)
• oceanographic variables (tide, width and slope of continental shelf, and wave climate).
The regions are termed 'Warm Temperate Humid', 'Warm Temperate Arid', 'Tropical Arid', and 'Tropical Humid' (figure 2.8). Table 2.2 summarises Davies description and adds data from a variety of sources.
A typology of coasts by LOICZ
The classifications discussed above have been developed by expert opinion: experts in coastal processes have evaluated the available data and then synthesised it to give a classification and description of the Australian coast.
The Land-Ocean Interactions in the Coastal Zone (LOICZ) project of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (IGBP) has taken a different approach. It has sought to establish a typology of coasts (that is, an analysis or classification based on types). This typology focuses on carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus (CNP) fluxes in all parts of the global coastal zone. The process has been to assemble existing data, such as run-off, evaporation, tidal range and wave climate, and then to cluster for 0.5° (latitude and longitude) points. Clustering has been accomplished using traditional methods (LOICZ 2002); in this case, vector quantification has been used. Data clusters have been calibrated with published CNP budgets to establish a typology of coastal nutrient flux. This is being generalised to areas where CNP budget information is not available in detail.
The methodology has been tested in Australia, at a clustering of 1° (Bud- demeier & Maxwell 2000), giving a mapped result similar to the classification developed by expert opinion, above. Further refinement of this method appears to be capable of providing a more detailed classification of the coast, using methods that may be replicated. Clearly it has the potential to isolate significant coastal descriptors which can best be used to typify CNP flux, and hence bio- geochemical activity, at the coast.
Sources: Davies (1986), with additions from Atlas of Australian Resources (1980-90), Bureau of Meteorology (1989), Gill (1982), Radok (1976).
Figure 2.9 The following set of photographs has been chosen to illustrate the variety of coastal types of the Australian continent, as well as something of the variety of resource use discussed later in this book
Australia's coast is varied and dynamic. As table 2.2 suggests, combinations of differing geological, climatic, oceanographic and biotic factors give great contrasts in coastal environments. These combinations can be regionalised to some extent, largely on the basis of climate and wave energy. Coastal management in Australia takes place within a series of varied and dynamic environments. From the Top End to Tasmania there is great pressure of uses: everywhere in the varied coastal environments, management is complex, challenging, and needed.
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