Sunday, 5 June 2011
The Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 1,600miles over an area of approximately 133,000 sq miles. The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland in north-east Australia. This short video from the National Geographic's YouTube site gives a fantastic insight into what we think is one of the world's most spectacular natural wonders.
The Great Barrier Reef can be seen from outer space and is the world's biggest single structure made by living organisms. This reef structure is composed of and built by billions of tiny organisms, known as coral polyps. This reef supports a wide diversity of life, and was selected as a World Heritage Site in 1981.
A large part of the reef is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which helps to limit the impact of human use, such as fishing and tourism. Other environmental pressures on the reef and its ecosystem include runoff, climate change accompanied by mass coral bleaching, and cyclic population outbreaks of the crown-of-thorns starfish.
The Great Barrier Reef has long been known to and used by the Aboriginal Australian and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and is an important part of local groups' cultures and spirituality. The reef is a very popular destination for tourists, especially in the Whitsunday Islands and Cairns regions. Tourism is an important economic activity for the region, generating $1 billion per year.
At Ibex Earth we have been looking into sustainable tourism for The Lost World Project and finding information about how exactly we can promote sustainable tourism in the Guiana Highlands, home of Mount Roraima.