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Environment and History

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Environment and History

A 'Sportsman's Paradise': The Effects of Hunting on the Avifauna of the Gippsland Lakes

Coral Dow

Environment and History 14(2008): 145-164. doi: 10.3197/096734008X303700

The Gippsland Lakes form an extensive lake system in south-eastern Australia that is fed by rivers draining the Australian Alps. Until the engineered opening of a permanent entrance to the sea in 1889 they were predominantly a freshwater system, regularly inundated by floodwaters that formed marginal wetlands locally known as morasses. Historical sources document an environment of avifaunal abundance, particularly of waterfowl. Although scientists have explained Australian avifaunal decline on habitat modification, historical sources suggest that on the Gippsland Lakes European interaction with nature in the form of hunting had a significant impact in the period before widespread habitat modification in the twentieth century.

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