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Developing an ecosystem accounting database to assess the competing uses, benefits and values of different stakeholders in the Great Barrier Reef

posted on 2024-04-01, 22:57 authored by Jeremy De ValckJeremy De Valck, Diane Jarvis, Anthea Coggan, Ella Schirru, Petina Pert, Victoria Graham, Maxine Newlands, Mara Emmerling
The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is a complex coastal system consisting of multiple, interconnected ecosystems such as coral reefs, seagrass meadows and mangroves. These ecosystems provide numerous ecosystem services (ES) that benefit local and more distant communities in different ways. However, the finite supply of ES and the dynamic nature of interactions between their different beneficiaries create increasing competition for using the GBR, and the potential for suboptimal and unfair resource allocation issues. The economic values derived from the GBR by Government, households and industries are reasonably well understood. But there is now an increasing need to add the specific rights and values derived from interaction with land and sea Country by First Nations peoples in any decision-making framework. To assess the different uses, users, benefits, and values associated with the GBR, we constructed a hybrid valuation framework based on the United Nations’ System of Environmental Economic Accounting, the Total Economic Value framework, and First Nations-centric frameworks. In this paper, we describe how we developed a database management system for ES-related data compatible with that hybrid framework and organised in such a way that they can be used for spatial planning and policy-making into the future. The data collection process comprises five major steps: i. Data discovery: Based on the ES categories identified in the hybrid framework, different Government data portals were searched for relevant datasets, including: GBR Marine Park Authority Geospatial Hub, Queensland Government Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, eAtlas, etc. ii. Data inventory: A spreadsheet was developed which documents each individual dataset collected and associated metadata and how it relates to the hybrid framework in terms of ES, values, and users/beneficiaries. iii. Data collection: Collection of secondary data sources included both digital and analog datasets originally captured for another purpose and often in another format. iv. Data assessment: An assessment of the level of effort required for each dataset was performed to ascertain relevancy, quality, conversion needs, accessibility, suitability, spatial and temporal resolution, processing required, gaps, etc. v. Data processing: Some datasets had to be modified to be suitable for the GBR case. This step was used to assist with data reduction, data enhancement and classification of spatial and temporal patterns. In parallel to that process, we explain the assumptions made to choose the most relevant datasets, which was done in consultation with the GBR Marine Park Authority who will use the database eventually for decision-making. We then develop some of the technical decisions made regarding the organisation of the database for fast data retrieval. Finally, we also cover the issue of spatial and temporal data gaps and offer possible solutions to circumvent these.


Category 2 - Other Public Sector Grants Category


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Online / Christchurch, New Zeland


Australasian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society (AARES)

Place of Publication

Online / Christchurch, New Zealand

Peer Reviewed

  • Yes

Open Access

  • No

Cultural Warning

This research output may contain the images, voices or names of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander or First Nations people now deceased. We apologize for any distress that may occur.

Era Eligible

  • No

Name of Conference

67th Australasian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society Annual Conference