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Saving the Reef: The five-year time bomb set to explode off our coast

In the Brisbane Times (25.11.16), reporters Adam Morton and Jason South have created an interactive text and visual montage outlining the current threats to the health of the Great Barrier Reef, and the responses needed to save its corals and marine life for future generations: “Australia’s most celebrated natural treasure is under siege. We travel the Great Barrier Reef to discover what it will take to make it healthy again”.

Their report continues: ‘The Great Barrier Reef is sometimes described as the Earth’s largest living organism, but it is much more than that.

‘There is nothing else on the planet like it: more than 3000 individual reefs and 1000 islands spread across an area stretching 2300 kilometres. It is the only natural wonder you can see from space.

‘But 2016 has been a bad year for the reef – the worst on record. It faces multiplying pressures, one of them planetary and existential, others local and interlinked. Its world-famous coral colonies have been the hardest hit, though there has been public confusion over the extent of the damage.

‘Senior scientists say it is now crunch time, warning another serious bleaching event is likely within five years, if not sooner. If urgent action isn’t taken, the reef as we know it could cease to exist.

‘As the Australian government prepared to update the UNESCO World Heritage Centre on the steps the country has promised to maintain its world heritage status, Fairfax Media travelled the reef to investigate the threats to its health.

‘We talked to people who study it, care for it, work and rely on it, and asked what it will take to save it.’

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