10.5 Assessment summary — Long-term outlook
Section 54(3)(h) of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 requires ‘… an assessment of the longterm outlook for the ecosystem…’ within the Great Barrier Reef Region. Section 116A(2)(f) of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Regulations 1983 requires ‘an assessment of the long-term outlook for the heritage values…’ of the Great Barrier Reef Region.
10.5.1 Outlook for the Region’s ecosystem
Outlook report 2009: Assessment summary Despite the introduction of significant protection and management initiatives, the overall outlook for the Great Barrier Reef is poor. Even with the recent initiatives to improve resilience, catastrophic damage to the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem may not be averted. Building the resilience of the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem will give it the best chance of adapting to and recovering from the serious threats ahead, especially from climate change. Given the strong management of the Great Barrier Reef, it is likely that the ecosystem will survive better than most other reef ecosystems around the world.
Current summary Outlook for the ecosystem: The Great Barrier Reef ecosystem is under pressure. Cumulative effects are diminishing the ecosystem’s ability to recover from disturbances. Some threats are increasing, driven mainly by climate change, economic growth and population growth. The emerging success of some initiatives (such as improving land-based run-off) means some threats may be reduced in the future. However, there are significant lags from when actions are taken to improvements being evident in the ecosystem. More than ever, a focus on building resilience by reducing all threats is important in protecting the Region’s ecosystem and its outstanding universal value into the future.
Assessment grade and trend Very good Good Poor Very poor
Confidence Grade Trends
The values are likely to remain healthy and resilient for the foreseeable future with strong recovery at damaged locations. Additional management intervention is not required to maintain the values.
Trend since 2009
With only minor additional management intervention, the values are likely to remain generally healthy and resilient for the foreseeable future, with only some values showing signs of significant deterioration.
Improving Stable Deteriorating No consistent trend
Without significant additional management intervention, some of the values will deteriorate in the next 25 years and only a few values are likely to be healthy and resilient in the longer term.
Without urgent and effective additional management intervention, the values are likely to deteriorate rapidly with the loss of most values in the longer term.
Improved Stable Deteriorated No consistent trend
Adequate high-quality evidence and high level of consensus Limited evidence or limited consensus Inferred, very limited evidence
10.5.2 Outlook for the Region’s heritage values
Outlook report 2009: Not assessed
Current summary Outlook for heritage values: The close connection between the Region’s ecosystem and its heritage values means that many are deteriorating as ecosystem condition declines, for example Indigenous heritage values. Similarly, attributes that contribute to the outstanding universal value of the Great Barrier Reef are under pressure from a range of threats. The Region’s social significance, built around a history of personal experiences, will continue to shift as use changes. Underwater aesthetic values will likely continue to decline. The outlook for historic heritage values will be influenced by how well sites are recorded and maintained. Increasing recognition of the Region’s heritage values improves their likely outlook.
Assessment grade trend Assessment grade andand trend Very good Good Poor Very poor
Confidence Grade Trend