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    Linking water quality impacts and benefits of ecosystem services in the Great Barrier Reef2018

    DE VALCK J., ROLFE J.Journaux et Revues (scientifiques)

    aide à la décision, biens et services écosystémiques, coûts / mesures de prévention / protection, pollution

    Marine Pollution Bulletin
    Volume 130, May 2018, Pages 55–66

    • We address the issue of water quality degradation from agricultural pollution in the Great Barrier Reef.
    • Our conceptual framework links water quality, ecosystem services and economic benefits.
    • We estimate the loss of benefits resulting from water quality reduction in the Great Barrier Reef.
    • Failing to meet water quality targets by only 1% has significant impacts on the local economy.
    • Losses in benefits range from AU$22k (fishing), to AU$525k (recreation) to AU$6.9 M/yr (tourism).

    Water quality degradation in the Great Barrier Reef, associated with increased loads of nutrients, sediments and pesticides from agriculture, has become a major concern. Improved management practices and water quality targets were set in the Reef Plan 2013, but with limited success. The causality between water quality degradation, ecosystem health and benefits to society remains poorly understood, questioning the relevance of current water quality targets. We argue that ecosystem service valuation may help identify the benefits generated by ecosystems and help prioritise further investments in water quality improvement.

    We estimate the loss of benefits to society resulting from water quality reduction, concentrating on the influence of pollutants on mangroves, seagrass and coral reefs. Our results suggest that failing to meet Government's water quality targets by 1% would result in losses between AU$22 k/year and AU$6.9 M/year depending on the industry. We then discuss the implications stemming from these results for local policy-making.

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