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Geodiversity

The concept of biodiversity and our need to protect this natural heritage at local, national and global scales are well developed. The concept of geodiversity is less well appreciated but is now developing a momentum of its own. Geodiversity conservation is increasingly seen as important in its own right and as an essential support to biodiversity and cultural conservation programmes.

This section of the website holds, and links to, documents that relate to the development of techniques for recognising and managing geodiversity at the local, national and global scales including site inventory programmes, geodiversity audits, geodiversity action plans and 'geodiversity economics'.

An overview of geoconservation at local, national and global scales was given at the 'Earth heritage: World heritage' conference by Tony Weighell (Joint Nature Conservation Committee). A summary of this overview can be found by using the link below:
'Geoconservation at a local, national and global scale: making the links'

Some of the areas mentioned above are discussed below.

 

 

 

Geodiversity management

A number of different approaches are being applied to manage geodiversity, including site inventories, audits and action plans. Site management is very dependent on the type of site, and therefore no one approach is appropriate for all.

The management of popular palaeontological sites which are subject to fossil-collecting pressure is a particular issue of interest to many. This issue was discussed in a report published in September 2005 - 'Sustainable site-based management of collecting pressure on palaeontological sites'. This report, produced by Richard Edmonds (Dorset County Council), Jonathan Larwood (English Nature) and Tony Weighell (Joint Nature Conservation Committee) discusses various methods of managing these palaeotological sites. Copies of the report are available by clicking here or on the link above.

Site inventories
Scientifically based geological/geomorphological site inventories have formed the basis for national geoconservation programmes in many countries. Such inventories identify important sites based on consistent criteria and can involve wide consultation and detailed description of site attributes and management requirements. In Britain, this inventory was carried out through the Geological Conservation Review (GCR), a major initiative to identify and describe those sites of national and international importance needed to show all the key scientific elements of the Earth heritage of Britain. More information about the GCR can be found at:
http://www.jncc.gov.uk/page-2947

Geodiversity audits
Geodiversity audits take a broader approach than site inventories, and recognise the value of a wider range of sites and also the importance of landscape elements that are not site bounded. Geological formations and geomorphological features can be accommodated along with elements such as museum collections, evidence of mining activity and quarrying.

Geodiversity Action Plans
The 'Action Plan' process defines long-term objectives and short-term targets and identifies human and financial resources necessary to achieve these. A geodiversity action plan builds upon an audit and/or inventory to determine management requirements for the different geodiversity elements.

Geodiversity Action Plans are, in part, developed from the model of Biodiversity Action Plans (BAPs). There is no UK Geodiversity Action Plan at present, but the number of Local Geodiversity Action Plans (LGAPs) is rapidly increasing. LGAPs set out actions to conserve and enhance the geodiversity of a particular area. They set out clear aims and objectives with measurable targets for local conservation. More information about LGAPs can be found by following the links below:
http://www.english-nature.org.uk/special/ geological/ lgap/default.htm
http://www.lgaps.org

 


Geodiversity Economics

The economic value to society of environmental goods and services is now being recognised as a result of economic analysis. This recognition of the economic value of geodiversity is very important. It underpins or overarches much geodiversity work because the economic dimension leads directly into a range of management issues including local/regional planning considerations, tourism and sustainable development strategies in general.

An explanation of the economic basis for evaluating the social and economic value of geodiversity was given at the 'Earth heritage: World heritage' conference by Michelle Guthrie (University of Wales, Aberystwyth). A summary of this explanation can be found by using the link below:
'The social and economic value of geodiversity'

 


Involving people in geodiversity

The importance of geodiversity and its benefits to people are often overlooked. Not only does geodiversity offer practical benefits, including the provision of resources such as coal, iron and building stone, but it also shapes the landscape around us, influencing the babitats and species we see and creating scenery and geological attractions appreciated and visited by many peopel. Geodiversity has an educational value, allowing us to understand the evolution and history of the Earth, and to interpret present and future processes by reconstrucing the past. It also has a cultural role to play, from its inspiration of art, to its significance in folklore, and in providing a sense of place and identity for local communities.

Methods to involve people in geodiversity were discussed at a two-day workshop, entitled 'Involving people in geodiversity' held at the end of the Earth heritage: World heritage conference. A short guidance, based on the discussions and conclusions has been published, which contains hints and tips on how to involve people from policy makers and politicians, to local communities and tourists in geodiversity. Further information can be found by using the link below:
'Involving people in Geodiversity'

For a free copy of the publication, please contact GeoConference@jncc.gov.uk.

   
 

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