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    Threatening Processes

        At a glance

        The issue

        Pollutants released into Tasmania's inland waters and wetlands, its estuarine and marine environments, or into the atmosphere are a threat to the State's biodiversity. However, it is also one of the least understood and documented threats to biodiversity unless the consequences are immediate and dramatic, such as fish-kill incidents. The release of pollutants into the environment can kill organisms outright, change the biogeochemical conditions and processes occurring within a system and result in systemic changes that degrade habitats and make ecological processes dysfunctional.

        Chemicals and heavy metals can accumulate in the food chain, particularly in the higher order animals, and can damage non-target populations if applied carelessly. Atmospheric pollution (e.g. air toxics) and oil and fuel spills can also impact flora and fauna. Another form of water pollution is nutrient enrichment, leading to eutrophication (e.g. algal blooms), which can significantly impact biodiversity.

        There is likely to be some new information available on the effects of pollutants on Tasmania's biodiversity. Possible sources are through monitoring undertaken by the Derwent Estuary Program and by the Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute. However, it was not possible to present a full discussion of this information in this second report within the time available. A limited discussion of some example assessments that have been conducted and relevant indicators that are included in other issue reports, is provided in the Pollution Issue Report. Further information on the causes of pollution of Tasmania's environment are discussed in a number of chapters in this SoE Report. Some examples of related issue reports include:

        Related recommendations include, for example, Improving Water Quality, Acid Mine Drainage, and Settlement Patterns and Processes.

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        Last Modified: 14 Dec 2006
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