Management of agriculture to preserve environmental values of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Brodie, Jon, Lewis, Stephen, Davis, Aaron, Bainbridge, Zoe, O'Brien, Dominique, Waterhouse, Jane, Devlin, Michelle, and Thomas, Colette R. (2015) Management of agriculture to preserve environmental values of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. In: Chicharo, Luís, Müller, Felix, and Fohrer, Nicola, (eds.) Ecosystems Services and River Basin Ecohydrology. Springer, Dordrecht, Netherlands, pp. 275-292.

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Abstract

Coral reef and seagrass ecosystems of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) are in severe decline. Water quality associated with pollutant discharge from the rivers discharging into the GBR is a major issue for these GBR ecosystems and associated species such as dugongs, turtles and fish. The main source of river pollution is agriculture with sugarcane cultivation, beef grazing, grain cropping and horticulture the principal industries. Discharge to the GBR is of poor quality in many rivers, contaminants are present in the GBR lagoon at concentrations likely to cause environmental harm and the causal relationship between poor water quality and declining GBR ecosystem health is well understood. Action to improve management practices to reduce sediment, fertiliser and pesticide losses from farms is being taken and the pollutant loading of river discharge reduced. Improved practices are funded through the combined efforts of Australian Governments (Federal, State and local) and farmers. Whether these improved practices and the pollution reductions achieved are suffi cient to improve GBR ecosystem health is not certain in the face of other threats to the GBR such as climate change and large scale coastal development associated with urban and port expansion.

Item ID: 40815
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
Keywords: watershed management, coral reefs, agricultural pollution, nutrients, pesticides
ISBN: 978-94-017-9845-7
Date Deposited: 05 May 2016 04:08
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 100%
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