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Poole Harbour's unique combination of physical characteristics provide for a rich and productive ecological community recognised for its internationally significant bird populations and as a haven for the naturalisation of exotic species. But the Harbour is also exceptional in the extent to which it represents in microcosm the world-wide tensions between environment and development. The contrasts are sometimes startling: the narrow Harbour entrance separates an unspoilt natural environment of considerable importance from an urban landscape where property competes with Manhattan and Hong Kong Island in the world-wide table of real estate values.
The Harbour serves as a port, fishing ground, a receiver of effluent and increasingly as a playground for the affluent. It also lies above Europe's largest on-shore oil-field. This book brings together for the first time expert contributions in such a way as to provide a picture of the ecology of the Harbour system as a whole. It covers all the major habitats from reed beds and salt marshes to the extensive mudflats and unseen sub-tidal regions, while also examining in some detail a wide range of ecological phenomena and issues.