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Eger AM, Bennett S, Zimmerhackel J, Rogers A, Burton M, Filbee-Dexter K, Wernberg T, Gacutan J, Milligan B, Vergés A (2022) Quantifying the ecosystem services of the Great Southern Reef. Report to the National Environmental Science Program. University of New South Wales.
The Great Southern Reef (GSR) is a network of rocky reefs dominated by kelp forests that spans more than 8000 km off the southern coast of Australia. The GSR is remarkable for its high levels of productivity, biodiversity and endemism, but its kelp forests rapidly diminishing due to ocean warming, marine heatwaves and pollution. This report presents a synthesis of biophysical data and economic valuations on the ecosystem services provided by kelp forests along the GSR, including market and non-market values. It aligns biophysical data with existing accounting standards and identifies 163,936 km2 of unmapped habitat. The total economic value of the GSR is estimated at $11.56 billion a year. The cumulative total economic value associated with a 20% loss of GSR ecosystem services in the next 20 years is estimated at $29.4 billion. These initial estimates will need to be updated as more and higher quality data become available.