GREAT BARRIER REEF
// Outlook Report 2014
8.6 Assessment summary — Resilience
Section 54(3)(e) of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 requires ‘… an assessment of the current resilience of the ecosystem…’ within the Great Barrier Reef Region, and Section 116A(2)(c) of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Regulations 1983 requires ‘… an assessment of the current resilience of the heritage values…’ of the Region. These assessments of ecosystem and heritage resilience are based on the information provided in earlier chapters of this report, namely the current state and trends of the Great Barrier Reef’s biodiversity, ecosystem health and heritage values, as well as the trends in direct use, the factors influencing future values and the effectiveness of protection and management arrangements. A series of illustrative case studies provide additional information on: • recovery in the ecosystem • improving heritage resilience. Over time, the case studies may be expanded or additional case studies developed.
8.6.1 Recovery in the ecosystem
Outlook Report 2009: Assessment summary Some disturbed populations and habitats have demonstrated recovery after disturbance (for example coral reefs, lagoon floor, coral trout, humpback whales). For some species recovery has been very slow (for example loggerhead turtles) or not evident (black teatfish, dugongs) and is dependent on the removal of all major threats. Increasing frequency and extent of threats are likely to reduce the resilience of species and habitats.
Current summary and assessment components Recovery in the ecosystem: Some disturbed populations and habitats have demonstrated recovery after disturbance (for example lagoon floor, loggerhead turtles, humpback whales). For some species recovery is not evident (black teatfish, dugongs) and is dependent on the removal of all threats. Increasing frequency and extent of some threats are likely to continue to reduce the resilience of species and habitats in the Region. Coral reef habitats: Increases in frequency and severity of disturbances, such as cyclones, flooding, crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks have reduced the capacity for coral reefs to recover since 2009. There is evidence of recovery at a local scale. Lagoon floor habitats: Ongoing management arrangements mean that some lagoon floor habitats previously at risk are continuing to recover from disturbances. There is little monitoring of lagoon floor condition or recovery. Black teatfish: Based on recent modelling, populations of black teatfish in the Region are likely to be slowly recovering. Populations have recovered in Torres Strait. Coral trout: Coral trout populations demonstrate a strong ability to recover and increased reproduction in zones closed to fishing disperses beyond those zones. There are emerging concerns about the overall condition of coral trout populations. Loggerhead turtles: Loggerhead turtle populations are recovering. There are comprehensive management arrangements in the Region, but some threats remain. Pressures from outside Australian waters are likely to influence their full recovery. Urban coast dugongs: The urban coast dugong population has declined further since 2009, affected by the loss of seagrass from cyclones and flooding. Continued effective implementation of all management arrangements is required to reduce direct threats.
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