The Great Barrier Reef (GBR)

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“We should preserve every scrap of biodiversity as priceless while we learn to use it and come to understand what it means to humanity” (Edward Owen Wilson, 2006). The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1981 and stretches for more than 2300 kilometres along the northeast coast of Australia, including an area of about 347 800 square kilometres of seabed. It is the largest coral reef ecosystem in the world with 2500 coral reefs and is home to more than 1500 species of fish and 5000 species of mollusc. Approximately 215 species of birds are found on its islands and cays. Despite the GBR being given World Heritage status the health of the GBR has declined to date. Human activities pose a threat to the GBR but …show more content…
The genetic diversity of ecosystems should be maintained as it is impossible to know what species will be needed in the future and because the maintenance of a single species can require the constant input of new genetic material from a variety of wild sources from the original centres of cultivation. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault known as the ‘Doomsday Vault’ is an effective example of a conservative approach to ensuring the maintenance of genetic diversity. The utility value, “usefulness”, that incorporates Ecoservices (global biogeochemical cycles such as the oxygen-carbon balance) and resources (e.g. food, medicines and industrial products). The intrinsic value of an ecosystem that includes it’s aesthetic, inspirational and spiritual value that enriches and satisfies an individual or community. The heritage value of an ecosystem refers to its aesthetic or scientific …show more content…
The rich biodiversity of the Great Barrier Reef is maintained by the implementation of zones as shown in the diagram. Areas of the reef that are vulnerable to human induced stress are termed as preservation zones where human activities are excluded. Intragenerational equity is evident through the acknowledgement of the indigenous people who occupied the land for over 60, 000 years. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s Indigenous Partnerships Group works with traditional owners groups, government and private sector agencies to manage the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The preservation and scientific research zones demonstrate a precautionary approach to the management of the Great Barrier Reef as we still do not know enough about ecosystems such as the Great Barrier Reef to utilise it in a way that reduces its functioning. Lastly, the preservation, conservation and controlled utilisation of the Great Barrier Reef demonstrate that intergenerational equity is ensured, it is of upmost importance that the reef is still in existence for generations to come particularly for it’s genetic diversity; utility value (ecoservices and resources); intrinsic value (aesthetic, spiritual and inspirational qualities); heritage value (aesthetic and scientific) and for natural evolutionary change to

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