Covering less than 0.1 per cent of the ocean surface, coral reefs support 25 per cent of all marine life. Australian scientists and engineers are giving their all to save the Great Barrier Reef – the largest living thing on Earth – from extinction.
Australia is breaching commitments to protect the embattled Great Barrier Reef from the effects of land clearing, environmental groups claimed Monday and called on the UN to probe the alleged failures.
Threats to many of the world’s natural wonders are growing, according to a 2017 report evaluating threats faced by natural UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These sites include many of the most iconic wild places on the planet, including the Great Barrier Reef and Galapagos Islands.
LAST week, the Australian government promised it would spend more than $500 million to protect our greatest national treasure, the Great Barrier Reef.
But now the government is being urged by environmental groups to put its money where its mouth is and reconsider a proposal to clear 2000 hectares of pristine Queensland forest on Cape York Peninsula.
Federal officials are planning to back the bulldozing of enough forest to fill the CBDs of Sydney and Melbourne three times over.
The clearing will see swathes of eucalypt forest, melaleuca swamplands and the habitats of a number of endangered species completely destroyed.
The draft report from the Department of the Environment and Energy recommends the government give the green light to the Kingvale Station clearing.
If it’s approved by Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg, Australia will not only have lost an area of forest almost six times the size of one of our capitals, but run-off into the Great Barrier Reef is also expected to increase.
In a bid to help save Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the Sydney government recently announced a $379 million funding plan. Approved by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, the initiative will help pay for a number of new protection strategies against environmental dangers such as coral bleaching—a long-term problem that has so far destroyed over 900 miles of the world-heritage ecosystem.
Caused by increasing seas temperatures, bleaching is a stress response from the living corals. They expel the symbiotic algae living in their tissues, causing them to lose their vibrant colors, which turns them completely white. Other major causes include a recent outbreak of coral-eating starfish, called the crown-of-thorns starfish. It spreads its body across the coral and releases a digestive enzyme, which slowly breaks it down.
However, the first cause that the government’s funds will aim to change is the surrounding farming practices. Due to the close proximity of sugar cane and cattle farms to the shore, there are large amounts of industrial agricultural waste that pollutes the ocean and smothers the coral.
Australia has pledged more than 500 million Australian dollars ($379 miillion) to help preserve the Great Barrier Reef, in an attempt to help better protect the world heritage site from the effects of climate change.
Marine heat waves caused by global warming killed off and damaged corals in 2016. Most of the impact was along 500 miles of the northern Great Barrier Reef, its most pristine region.
The new funding is part of an ambitious conservation plan that will see the Australian government partner with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation to improve and monitor the long-term health of the reef.
Described as the largest single investment for reef conservation and management in the country’s history, the money will be used to improve water quality, control a major predatorand expand reef restoration.
The Great Barrier Reef is home to the world’s largest collection of coral reefs, with about 400 types of coral and 1,500 species of fish. It is also home to a number of endangered species, including the large green turtle and the dugong, a cousin of the manatee.