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School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES), The University of New South Wales (UNSW)

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  • Ecosystems provide numerous services and benefits to society. While historically overlooked, these services are increasingly recognized and are now being mapped and accounted for. There are several approaches to mapping and evaluating these ecosystem services. In this report, we use two increasingly common approaches, Ocean Accounting and Welfare Economics, to evaluate ecosystem services for the Great Southern Reef. The Great Southern Reef is a network of rocky reefs dominated by temperate algal forests known as kelp. It spans over 8,000 Km of coastline and supports two thirds of the Australian population. Despite its presumed importance, there has been little work quantifying the extent and value of the ecosystem services provided by the Great Southern Reef. Through a systematic review we assessed the current state of knowledge of the ecosystem services provided by the Great Southern Reef. Using the Common International Classification of Ecosystem Services (CICES) framework, we created an overview of the ecosystem services (provisioning, regulating, and cultural) provided by the Great Southern Reef in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, and Western Australia. We then created metrics to quantify how these services benefit coastal societies in these five states. Highlight summaries include over 17 million Australians who live within 50 Km of the reef, 26 wild seaweed harvest companies, 115 tourism SCUBA operators, 1436 mapped dive sites, 18 million tourist visits each year, 16 temperate marine biology university programs, 43 books and films, key medical products, 23 tons of harvested seaweed, 1116 grams of carbon per m2 used for growth each year, 2,361 peer-reviewed scientific publications from 1976 to 2022, 186 marine protected areas, 2.16 million recreational fishers, and over 28 commercial fisheries with 20,000 tons of biomass taken each year. We then conducted economic evaluations using these biophysical values and the available information. Using a variety of approaches, we found that the total economic value of the Great Southern Reef was $11.56 billion each year. Individually the values were as follows, commercial fishing (producer surplus - $33.2 million), carbon sequestration (avoided damages - $37.8 million), nutrient cycling (avoided damages - $6,484 million), recreational fishing (consumer surplus - $1,668 million), diving and snorkelling (consumer surplus - $403 million), other recreational activities (consumer surplus $1,836 million), and the existence value (consumer surplus - $1,096 million).

  • Efforts to restore Posidonia seagrass meadows in NSW are reliant on collecting beachcast fragments as collection of donor material from extant beds is prohibited. However, to maximise the collection efforts it necessary to understand where to collect fragments from and what environmental conditions (e.g. wind direction, wind strength, tidal height) increase the availability of fragments and where to collect the most healthy fragments. This data set captures the abundance of fragments at 7 sites in Gamay (Botany Bay), an area of interest for restoration of Posidonia australis. It investigates how characteristics of wind (speed and direction), tidal height and swell (height, direction) influence the availability (abundance) and health (as determined by observations of necrosis) of shoots at sites throughout Botany Bay. The Excel data workbook is comprised of two sheets: Fragments_data sheet shows the number of P. australis fragments collected at different sites, when they were collected, and the environmental conditions at collection (see data attributes section). Shoot_data sheet shows the proportion of necrosis of shoots attached to collected fragments.

  • This record provides an overview of the NESP Marine and Coastal Hub small-scale study - "Quantifying the ecosystem services of the Great Southern Reef". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- The Great Southern Reef (GSR) is an interconnected system of reefs dominated by kelp forests spanning over 8,000 km along southern Australia. It is a global hotspot for marine biodiversity and endemism, and one of the most productive ecosystems on Earth. Kelp forests, however, are diminishing and evidence-based management is hindered without accurate estimates of their contribution to society and the economy. In this project, we will systematically compile and synthesise existing data on the ecosystem values and services provided by the GSR, including market and non-market values. These assessments will be aligned with existing accounting standards to ensure compatibility with ongoing and future efforts. Planned Outputs • Inventory of data collated and assessed for the purpose of developing ecosystem accounts for GSR • Final technical report with analysed data, including a short summary of recommendations for policy makers of key findings (written)

  • This record provides an overview of the NESP Marine and Coastal Hub small-scale study - "A national framework for improving seagrass restoration". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- Across Australia, the loss of >275,000 ha of seagrass meadows and associated ecosystem services – valued at AU$ 5.3 billion – has contributed to the long-term degradation of estuarine and coastal marine ecosystems. Restoration of seagrass is critical for improving the health and function of these ecosystems and sustaining coastal communities and industries that depend on them. This is primarily because restoration practices are piecemeal and driven by local drivers and are generally not conducted at scales of seagrass loss. We address this problem by bringing together scientists and key stakeholders to collate knowledge on seagrass ecology and restoration and generate a framework to scaling-up restoration nationally. We also build on ongoing restoration trials to test the proposed framework.These are: assessing sediment quality and manipulations (Gamay Rangers, UNSW); use of sediment filled hessian tubes for seed and seedling capture (Malgana Rangers, UWA), and: scaling up seed collection for seed-based restoration (Seeds for Snapper, OZFISH, UWA). Planned Outputs • Effect of sediment quality and manipulation on seagrass transplant success (field data) • Locations and health of beachcast fragments of Posidonia in Botany Bay (field data) • Effect of engineering hydrodynamics (by use of hessian socks) on seagrass transplant success (field data)