Tasmania lies off the south east of mainland Australia at latitude 40 to 42 degrees south in the path of the Roaring Forties and enjoys a cool-temperate climate with mean annual temperature of 90C in the central highlands and 130C nearer the coast. Tasmania contains a diverse range of soils due to variations in climate, landscape and geology. Rainfall ranges from over 2400mm per annum on the west coast to less than 500 mm per annum in the south east, topography from alluvial flats to mountain ranges and geology from soft unconsolidated recent sediments to very old and hard metamorphic and volcanic rocks. Forty percent of the State is protected in the World Heritage Area, national parks and reserves. Agriculture occurs mostly on the more versatile soils and gentler slopes below 300 m altitude in the north and central east of the state, where annual rainfall is between 600 and 1000 mm. Improved access to water has enabled the diversification of land use with an associated increase in the area used for cropping. Three Tasmanian NRM regions have been established protect and enhance the natural landscape.
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