Many groundbreaking scientific advances have happened in the Region.
alone, there have been about 3000 scientific journal articles relating to the Great Barrier Reef in the 10 years since 2004 which have been cited over 50,000 times.47 Reef research has also contributed to protection and management of tropical marine systems throughout the world, including through improving understanding of the importance of marine protected areas.48,49 The statement of outstanding universal value for the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area recognises its enormous scientific importance.50 The scientific value of monitoring activities undertaken over extended periods (such as those for marine turtles, dugongs, seabirds and corals) continues to increase as the timespan for each study grows. The scientific heritage values of the Region are generally being maintained. Sites of significant historic scientific research and monitoring are known. The findings and the locations of the work undertaken are generally recorded in scientific publications and databases.
4.5 Current state and trends of world heritage and national heritage values
The Great Barrier Reef is listed on both the World Heritage List and the National Heritage List and therefore contains both world heritage values and national heritage values. The two categories of heritage values are combined in this assessment as the area’s national heritage listing is based on its recognition as a world heritage property — meaning that its national heritage values correspond to its world heritage values. The Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area covers 348,000 square kilometres and includes both marine areas and all the Great Barrier Reef islands contained inside its boundary. The property has the same boundary as the Great Barrier Reef Region, except that it also includes the internal waters and islands of Queensland. The Great Barrier Reef was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1981 and on the National Heritage List in 2007. It was the first coral reef ecosystem in the world to be listed as world heritage and today is one of only 46 marine world heritage areas. Its world heritage listing recognised the area was of outstanding universal value. ‘Outstanding universal value is defined as cultural and/or natural significance which is so exceptional as to transcend national boundaries and to be of common importance for present and future generations of all humanity.’51 A property is considered to be of outstanding universal value if it meets one or more of 10 world heritage criteria and is inscribed on the World Heritage List.51 In addition, to be deemed to be of outstanding universal value ‘a property must also meet the conditions of integrity and/or authenticity and must have an adequate protection and management system to ensure its safeguarding’.51 Recognition of the Great Barrier Reef’s outstanding universal value was based on all the four natural world heritage criteria in place at the time of listing — acknowledging the Reef’s natural values, together with the
The Great Barrier Reef has natural significance of common importance for all humanity
© Matt Curnock