A framework for understanding cumulative impacts, supporting environmental decisions and informing resilience based management of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area

Kenneth R.N.Anthony, Australian Institute of Marine Science; Jeffrey M.Dambacher, CSIRO; Terry Walshe, NERP Decisions Hub, University of Melbourne; Roger Beeden, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority - Final Report to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Department of the Environment

About this report

This project was commissioned by and developed with the Department of the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) to develop a qualitative framework for understanding cumulative impacts on the resilience of coral reef and seagrass ecosystems to inform decision making in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA). This report is the result of close collaboration between the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), GBRMPA, Department of the Environment, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the University of Melbourne.

The Great Barrier Reef is facing a range of pressures, and supporting the resilience of the Reef has become a central focus in its management. A key challenge for managers is to understand the cumulative impacts of multiple stressors and incorporating this knowledge into management decisions. The Cumulative Impact and Structured Decision-Making (CISDM) framework represented in this report is designed to assist Great Barrier Reef Marine Park managers and stakeholders in this challenge. The framework uses qualitative and probabilistic modelling to provide a systems-level understanding of how cumulative stressors affect coral reefs and seagrass ecosystems in the GBRWHA. These ecosystems underpin matters of national environmental significance (MNES), including the outstanding universal value (OUV) of the GBRWHA.

This report forms one part of the department's program of work funded under the Sustainable Regional Development Program to support the Strategic Assessment of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.