The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is a World-known, iconic environmental asset whose complex functioning is largely ascribed to its outstanding biodiversity, ranging from genes to plants, animals and entire ecosystems. Biodiversity has been key to its resilience over the past millennia. However, the combined effects of climate change, water quality degradation and coastal development are threatening the GBR’s resilience. There is a crucial need to better understand the value of biodiversity in that region to encourage sustainable policy-making.
Different approaches have been suggested in the literature to value biodiversity. First, we review the use of a Total Economic Value framework to look into all dimensions of biodiversity values. Second, we describe an approach relying on ecosystem services. The suitability of these two approaches to value biodiversity in the GBR is assessed. Next, we review 23 finance mechanisms and discuss the possibility to use them to alleviate pressures on ecosystems and biodiversity in the GBR. We conclude by stressing the importance of biodiversity valuation in the GBR, highlight some of the remaining challenges and provide recommendations for future research avenues.