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One year on from the Great Barrier Reef to the extent that it remains at risk from climate change, the reef is showing signs of recovery. The number of coral in the reef is rising, and researchers are working towards an “over-arching framework” for managing the reef’s fate. It remains to be seen what the future holds for the reef.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), the governing body responsible for managing the reef, says the numbers of corals are “on the increase because of the warm and sunny weather in Australia”. But the authority also points out that while corals are recovering, they are in decline in other areas “because of man’s role in maintaining these reefs”.
The Great Barrier Reef was declared a World Heritage Area in 2000 and one of the most important marine reserves on earth. It is home to some of the world’s largest and most diverse marine ecosystems, and is one of the most highly populated and important places on earth besides the Arctic, Antarctica, or the Galápagos Islands. The marine park covers an area of approximately 22,000 square kilometers and covers over 1,700 islands.
Since its restoration, the reef suffered from extensive bleaching and the reef has experienced a series of mass coral bleaching events. Overcrowding at key coral sites, the high tide line and loss of habitat has had a big impact on corals. Now scientists are hoping that the warming in Australia’s tropical waters will improve water conditions and make the reef healthier.
“Scientists have been looking at what the future holds for the Great Barrier Reef for quite some time. This year’s data shows that the reef is healthy and doing pretty well,” said Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Chair, Professor Lesley Hughes.
“At the same time, though, the damage to reefs has continued, so researchers are looking at how that will impact on the future of the reef, as well as improving management of other key marine reserves of significant importance to Australia.”
Great Barrier Reef National Park Authority’s (GBRNPA) Climate Change Leadership Advisory Panel has also
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