GREAT BARRIER REEF
// Outlook Report 2014
Factors influencing the Region’s values
Outlook Report 2009: Overall summary of factors influencing the Reef’s values
Factors external to the Great Barrier Reef itself are playing an increasing role in determining its condition. Threats from climate change have already been witnessed and all parts of the ecosystem are vulnerable to its increasing effects with coral reef habitats the most vulnerable. Coastal development, primarily driven by mining, industry and population growth, is still significantly affecting coastal habitats that support the Great Barrier Reef and the water quality of the Great Barrier Reef. Despite improvements in local land management, the quality of catchment run-off entering the Great Barrier Reef continues to cause deterioration in the water quality in the Great Barrier Reef Region. Currently, changes in the use made of the Great Barrier Reef Region are mainly driven by external factors such as global economic conditions plus regional economic development and population growth. As many uses of the Region are based on the resources of the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem, the health of that ecosystem may become an increasingly important determinant of use. Many of the threats from both the external factors and those from direct use within the Great Barrier Reef are combining to cause serious impacts on the ecosystem. All these factors are significant to the ecosystem’s future functioning and resilience.
The Great Barrier Reef Region (the Region) comprises a diverse range of ecosystem and heritage values, described in Chapters 2 to 4. The condition of those values determines the quality of the social and economic benefits the community derives from the Region (such as income, appreciation and enjoyment). A number of factors influence their condition and therefore the quality of the benefits they provide. These influencing factors are themselves affected by broadscale drivers of change (Figure 6.1). The purpose of this chapter is to examine influences on the Region’s values. It begins with an examination of four overarching drivers of change relevant to the Region: economic growth; population growth; technological development; and societal attitudes.
Figure 6.1 Drivers of change and factors influencing the Region’s values
The Region’s values are influenced by four main factors, climate change, coastal development, land-based run-off and direct use. These are, in turn, affected by broader drivers of change. Climate change has both direct and indirect effects.