The Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area: its 'value' to residents and tourists, and the effect of world prices on it. Final report to the National Environmental Research Program

Stoeckl, Natalie, Farr, Marina, Jarvis, Diane, Larson, Silva, Esparon, Michelle, Sakata, Hana, Chaiechi, Taha, Liu, Hongbo, Brodie, Jon, Lewis, Stephen, Mustika, Putu, Adams, Vanessa, Chacon, Adriana, Bos, Melissa, Pressey, Bob, Kubiszewski, Ida, and Costanza, Bob (2014) The Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area: its 'value' to residents and tourists, and the effect of world prices on it. Final report to the National Environmental Research Program. Report. Reef and Rainforest Research Centre, James Cook University, Cairns, QLD, Australia.

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Abstract

[Extract] Background:

•The project was developed in response to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA)'s desire to develop a socio-economic monitoring program. This project is separate but complementary to Project 10.1 (SELTMP), providing additional economic data and modelling/analytical insights.

•There are a vast number of variables (or 'indicators') that could, potentially, be monitored. But monitoring is expensive. The key problem is thus to identify a set of relevant indicators, that are practical to monitor, and that provide one with information which will help meet one's goals/targets.

•The GBRMPA's primary goal is to protect the GBRMP and world heritage area - i.e. to promote reef resilience. So we need to monitor economic indicators that provide information about reef health/resilience. In some situations, it is relatively easy to discern the link between economic indicators and reef resilience, but not always: history abounds with examples of wealthy countries, businesses and individuals who have been environmentally destructive. Knowing that an economy is, or is not 'healthy', does not tell one whether the reef is at risk. To determine that, one needs a better understanding of the interaction between various parts of the economy, and the GBRWHA.

Aims, Objectives and Structure:

•This project set out to collect economic data relevant to the GBRWHA and to explore the interaction between economic variables and biophysical variables thought to be related to reef resilience (e.g. indicators of water turbidity). Its overarching aim was to improve our understanding of the way in which the economy and the GBRWHA interact, making it easier to judge (a) which economic variables are most important to monitor, and (b) how to interpret trends in those variables (i.e. whether changes are likely to be 'good' or 'bad' for the reef).

•Operationally, the project comprised three interrelated activities, the specific objectives of which were to improve our understanding of: (a) the 'value' of key ecosystem services (ES) that are provided by the GBRWHA to different groups of residents of the GBR catchment area (GBRCA); (b) the 'value' of key ES that are provided by the GBRWHA to different groups of visitors to the GBRCA; (c) the extent to which variations in beef prices and other socioeconomic variables (in conjunction with biophysical variables) influence water quality and thus (indirectly) reef resilience.

Simplistically, it is as if parts (a) and (b) provide us with information about the way in which the GBRWHA benefits people and the economy, whilst part (c) provides us with information about the way in which the economy affects the GBRWHA. Collectively, the project thus helps us learn more about the way in which the economic system interacts with the biophysical systems of the GBRWHA.

Item ID: 37189
Item Type: Report (Report)
Additional Information:

Freely available from the NERP website.

ISBN: 978-1-925088-49-6
Funders: National Environmental Research Program (NERP) Tropical Ecosystems Hub
Projects and Grants: Project 10.2 Socioeconomic systems and reef resilience
Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2015 00:55
FoR Codes: 14 ECONOMICS > 1499 Other Economics > 149902 Ecological Economics @ 70%
14 ECONOMICS > 1402 Applied Economics > 140216 Tourism Economics @ 30%
SEO Codes: 91 ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK > 9102 Microeconomics > 910209 Preference, Behaviour and Welfare @ 25%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960601 Economic Incentives for Environmental Protection @ 25%
91 ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK > 9199 Other Economic Framework > 919902 Ecological Economics @ 50%
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