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The ‘Great Southern Reef’: social, ecological and economic value of Australia’s neglected kelp forests


Bennett, S and Wernberg, T and Connell, SD and Hobday, AJ and Johnson, CR and Poloczanska, ES, The Great Southern Reef': social, ecological and economic value of Australia's neglected kelp forests, Marine and Freshwater Research, 67, (1) pp. 47-56. ISSN 1323-1650 (2016) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 CSIRO

DOI: doi:10.1071/MF15232


Kelp forests define > 8000 km of temperate coastline across southern Australia, where ∼ 70% of Australians live, work and recreate. Despite this, public and political awareness of the scale and significance of this marine ecosystem is low, and research investment miniscule (< 10%), relative to comparable ecosystems. The absence of an identity for Australia’s temperate reefs as an entity has probably contributed to the current lack of appreciation of this system, which is at odds with its profound ecological, social and economic importance. We define the ‘Great Southern Reef’ (GSR) as Australia’s spatially connected temperate reef system. The GSR covers ∼ 71 000 km2 and represents a global biodiversity hotspot across at least nine phyla. GSR-related fishing and tourism generates at least AU$10 billion year–1, and in this context the GSR is a significant natural asset for Australia and globally. Maintaining the health and ecological functioning of the GSR is critical to the continued sustainability of human livelihoods and wellbeing derived from it. By recognising the GSR as an entity we seek to boost awareness, and take steps towards negotiating the difficult challenges the GSR faces in a future of unprecedented coastal population growth and global change.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Great Southern Reef, ecosystem services, ecosystem values, temperate reef
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems
UTAS Author:Hobday, AJ (Dr Alistair Hobday)
UTAS Author:Johnson, CR (Professor Craig Johnson)
ID Code:108105
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:178
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2016-04-06
Last Modified:2018-04-11

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