GREAT BARRIER REEF
// Outlook Report 2014
Impacts on heritage values
Outlook Report 2009: Not assessed Current summary and assessment components Impact on heritage values: Impacts on the ecosystem are reflected in declines in related heritage values, especially Indigenous heritage, natural heritage and world and national heritage values. Attributes of outstanding universal value relating to natural beauty, natural phenomena, ecological processes, and habitats and species are being affected. For built heritage, the threats from climate change and direct use are the most serious. Climate change: The vulnerability of the ecosystem to climate change flows through to dependent heritage values, especially the Reef’s outstanding universal value, natural heritage values and Indigenous heritage values. Altered weather patterns and sea level rise increase the risks to built structures such as lightstations, shipwrecks and fish traps. Coastal development: Modification of coastal areas affects the Reef’s outstanding universal value, altering supporting habitats and connecting processes, and affecting scenic vistas. Coastal development has affected Indigenous heritage values. Unidentified nearshore historic heritage values are vulnerable to modification and reclamation of the coast, dredging and disposal of dredge material. Land-based run-off: Many of the Region’s heritage values, including its outstanding universal value, are vulnerable through the ecosystem effects of land-based run-off, especially in central and southern inshore areas. Water quality declines and marine debris are likely to be diminishing the Region’s natural beauty. Increased sedimentation may be affecting underwater wrecks. Direct use: Uses such as fishing and ports are affecting some attributes that contribute to the outstanding universal value of the world heritage property. Heritage values are affected by physical damage and pollution as a result of direct use. Indigenous heritage values are especially vulnerable to depletions in culturally significant species and incompatible uses. Trend since 2009 Low impact
Current and predicted future impacts are likely to significantly affect the Region’s heritage values. Concern about serious effects on the Region’s heritage values within next 20–50 years.
Assessment grade and trend
Very low Low impact impact
Very high impact Grade Trend
Grading statements Very low impact High impact
Some minor impacts have already been observed and there is concern that, based on accepted predictions, there will be significant but localised impacts on the Region’s heritage values.
Increasing Stable Decreasing No consistent trend
Few or no impacts have been observed and accepted predictions indicate that future impacts on the Region’s heritage values are likely to be minor.
Very high impact
Current and predicted future impacts are likely to irreversibly destroy much of the Region’s heritage values. Widespread and serious effects on the Region’s heritage values likely within next 10–20 years.
New assessment for this report; no trend provided
Adequate high-quality evidence and high level of consensus Limited evidence or limited consensus Inferred, very limited evidence
6.7.3 Impacts on economic values
Outlook Report 2009: Assessment summary Changes to the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem are likely to have serious economic implications for reefdependent industries, such as tourism and fishing, and for adjacent communities. Perceptions about the health of the ecosystem also affect its attractiveness for tourism and recreation and, thus, its marketability. An increasing coastal population is likely to increase the economic value of Reef-based activities. The economic benefits of direct use will be affected by the impacts of external factors.