The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is one of Australia’s most valued, and valuable, environmental assets and it is also one of the Earth’s best recognised natural features. It is home to the most extensive coral ecosystem in the world and is a place of unparalleled natural beauty.
In recognition of its unique characteristics the GBR was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1981. But despite its ecological significance the Great Barrier Reef is under unprecedented pressure from a number of factors (Box 1). The very survival of the reef is under threat. This article considers, in particular, the threat from coastal development.
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