Developing a long-term outlook for the Great Barrier Reef, Australia: a framework for adaptive management reporting underpinning an ecosystem based management approach
The Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report 2009 was the first produced in response to a newly legislated requirement for five-yearly reports on the status of and outlook for the Great Barrier Reef. It adopted an ecosystem approach, assessing all habitats and species, ecosystem processes and major uses. By then considering the factors affecting the ecosystem, coupled with an assessment of management effectiveness, a risk-based forward-looking projection for the ecosystem is provided. With no pre-determined path to follow for interpreting the legislative requirements, the GBRMPA developed a structure and method for Great Barrier Reef Outlook Reports that are repeatable and that impartially and consistently consider the evidence and clearly present the findings. The GBRMPA worked closely with relevant Australian and Queensland government agencies as well as researchers, industry representatives and the community when developing the Report. That such a report must be produced every five years allows an overview of the effectiveness of responses to be regularly assessed. It also provides a transparent means of highlighting and tracking emerging risks facing the Great Barrier Reef.