Geological conservation in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries
Before the middle of the twentieth century there were very few geological reserves in Britain and there was no government legislation to protect them. In other countries and especially in the USA, there were many more such sites protected by a number of legislative processes. In nineteenth century Britain most of the land was owned by comparatively few wealthy people and common land was being steadily reduced through increasing numbers of Enclosure Acts. This meant that there were very few opportunities for conservation action especially as there was no legal basis for doing so other than through land ownership. In the USA the situation was completely different. The westward expansion was in full swing resulting in an increasing amount of federal land holdings owned by Congress. This, together with a desire of the federal government to save special sites for future generations, resulted in the extensive National Parks created by statute and the cultural and national monuments protected by the 1906 Preservation of American Antiquities Act. It took another forty years for Britain to have similar legislation.
Figures & Tables
This book is the first to describe the history of geoconservation. It draws on experience from the UK, Europe and further afield, to explore topics including: what is geoconservation; where, when and how did it start; who was responsible; and how has it differed across the world? Geological and geomorphological features, processes, sites and specimens, provide a resource of immense scientific and educational importance. They also form the foundation for the varied and spectacular landscapes that help define national and local identity as well as many of the great tourism destinations. Mankind’s activities, including contributing to enhanced climate change, pose many threats to this resource: the importance of safeguarding and managing it for future generations is now widely accepted as part of sustainable development. Geoconservation is an established and growing activity across the world, with more participants and a greater profile than ever before. This volume highlights a history of challenges, set-backs, successes and visionary individuals and provides a sound basis for taking geoconservation into the future.