Australia 's Great Barrier Reef Essay

1607 Words Nov 8th, 2016 7 Pages
Introduction: Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (GBR), one of the world’s most precious marine ecosystems, has been deteriorating due to poor water quality (Kroon et al., 2016). One of the main reasons for this substantial decline in water quality over recent decades is agricultural runoff of nitrogen, pesticides/ herbicides and sediment (Figure 1). In fact, the water quality is most affected in the inshore areas in the southern and central regions near the most intensive agriculture. The impacts are biophysical in their effects on the marine animal and plants of the Reef. For example, coral cover declined about 50 percent from 1985-2013 (Brodie et al., 2013, p.2). The impacts are socioeconomic, since the GBR was estimated to contribute about $7 billion to the Australian economy in 2011-2, e.g., through recreation, tourism, and commercial fishing (GBR Marine Authority, 2013); a value similar or greater than the agricultural economies of lands draining into the GBR (Thorburn et al., 2013). The detrimental impact of agriculture on the water and health of the GBR is a major concern for governments, environmental groups, farmers and the public. Therefore, what is needed is a sustainable solution to minimize the impact of agriculture on water quality to keep the GBR alive. Farmers need to adapt more sustainable farming to minimize the amount of runoff of sediment, nitrogen, and pesticides. Methods used to date have included contour plowing, using GPS navigation to reduce driving and…

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