The beef industry is having a catastrophic impact on the Great Barrier Reef as deforestation drives harmful chemicals into the sea and greenhouse gas emissions cause temperatures to rise.
The Wilderness Society conducted a spatial data audit to analyze the damage of high levels of land clearing and erosions in the Great Barrier Reef region of Queensland.
The report showed that over a five-year period over 1.6 million hectares of forest and bushland were cleared for beef production.
The beef industry was responsible for 94 percent of all land clearing in Great Barrier Reef catchments and 73 percent of all land clearing in Queensland.
According to the report: “Deforestation is a leading driver of biodiversity loss, a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions, and contributed to poor water quality running into the Great Barrier Reef.
“Intensified animal agriculture has caused additional chemical run-off into Reef waters on top of the existing chemical loads.”
Jessica Panegyres, TWS’s national nature campaigner added: “It’s very hard to argue that deforestation in reef catchments isn’t a problem because everybody knows that the reef is in crisis.
“These findings help us pinpoint exactly what is driving Australia’s deforestation crisis and beef is number one on that list.”
The report also highlighted that sheep rearing came in second at 28 percent of land clearing after beef.
It noted: “Each sector with deforestation risk should adopt a sector-wide commitment to deforestation-free practices by 2020.”
“The scientific evidence is clear. Initiatives that will halt and reverse the effects of climate change at a global level and effectively improve water quality at a regional scale are the most urgent to improve the Region’s long-term outlook.”
What measures should the Australian government adopt to preserve the Great Barrier Reef? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
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