Much of the development and degradation of karst lands in Australia has occurred in the last two centuries since European settlement. Recent prolonged El Niño events add further climatic uncertainty and place real constraints on sustainable agriculture. The lower southeast of South Australia is perhaps the one area in Australia where karst, and particularly karst hydrology, impinge on the daily lives of the community in that pollution and overexploitation of the aquifer are readily apparent to the local population. Effluent from intensive dairy farms, piggeries and cheese factories enters the karst and has caused concern over pollution of water supplies. Human impacts on the Mole Creek karst of Tasmania have been well documented. The principal recent impacts on the karst arc associated with land clearance for farmland, forest cutting for timber, road building, refuse disposal and associated hydrological change. There is similar evidence of agricultural impacts un karst in central New South Wales, with clear evidence of vegetation clearance and soil stripping on the limestones at Wellington, Orange and Molong.



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