Essay on The Great Barrier Reef
1258 Words6 Pages
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the wonders of the natural world. It was declared a World Heritage area in 1981 and added to the National Heritage List in 2007. Unfortunately, the Great Barrier Reef faces many threats. Pollution caused by direct or indirect human activities are major threats to Australian reefs. (source 1).
Two million tourists visit the coral reef every year. This is great for the economy; however it can have huge negative impacts on the coral reef. The tourists are carried around the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP) by over 500 commercial vessels which drop fuel, anchors and other forms of pollution that damage the reef. The tourists also break the fragile corals by touching and reef walking as well as…show more content…
Overexploitation of fish, the use of fishing nets, poison fishing, dynamite fishing and coral harvesting are other threats to the Great Barrier Reef. (Source 1)
According to source 6, the Great Barrier Reef is extremely vulnerable to climate change. For example, an increase in carbon dioxide concentration from 380 ppm to 450 ppm in the atmosphere will increase the sea temperature by one degree which is enough to cause severe coral bleaching. On top of that the sea water will become more acidic and the sea levels will rise, posing more threats to the reef.
Adding to the threats is the crown-of-thorns starfish which was introduced by sailors emptying ballast water into the coral reef. The crown-of-thorns starfish has been destroying coral since 1960. (source 3) As corals die, many animals and plants are losing their habitats causing a drop in the biodiversity of species and population levels. (source 4)
Cyclones and storms are natural events that also have devastating impacts on coral reefs. An example of this is Cyclone Ingrid in 2005 which ripped through about 10% of the Great Barrier Reef lifting many tonnes worth of coral two or three meters in diameter around ‘like marbles’. This caused avalanches of sediment and coral skeletons which smothered everything underneath. Coral reefs take between two to twenty years to recover after storms such as these. (Source 13) The depressing fact is that with the El Nino effect as a result of global
Great Barrier Reef Essay example
1549 Words7 Pages
The Great Barrier Reef is known as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It is believed to be one of the most incredible places on this earth. This reef is the largest living organism on this planet and the only living thing on earth visible from space (2011). The warm waters of the southwest Pacific Ocean are the perfect environments to create the world's largest system of coral reefs. The Great Barrier Reef is in such pristine condition that it was listed by the World Heritage Trust as a protected site and is therefore, managed by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to ensure that its beauty is maintained for many travelers and sightseers (Edgar 2010). Due to the complexity of this natural phenomenon, human practices have led…show more content…
The combination of these environmental factors has led to some of the most beautiful colors that can only be found in the many corals that live here. Additionally sediments, twice as old as the reef, indicate that the region was once above sea level (Lunar). The sheer enormity of the Great Barrier Reef, in addition to its great age, are two of the most well-known features of this natural phenomenon. It is composed of living coral, dead coral, algae, sponges, fish, snakes and thousands of other species, both plants and animals (2011). Currently, no evidence has been discovered as to when the first human contact occurred at the reef, but the Aboriginal population may have been the first, due to their occupation of Australia for over 40,000 years (Lunar). Human use and tourism is one of the main reasons the Great Barrier Reef is such an astounding place. The reef consists of more than 400 different kinds of corals, over 1,500 species of fish, and over 200 types of birds (2011). The tourism industry is a major contributor to the local and Australian economy. The range of activities for tourists include day tours, overnight and extended tours, snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, whale watching, helicopter tours, and other services that capitalizes on the world’s fascination with it. (2011). The earliest occurance of tourism was in the late 1890’s, when this area became a