Geodiversity: the origin and evolution of a paradigm
‘Geodiversity’ can be defined as the range of geological, geomorphological and soil features. Although the word itself was first used only in the early 1990s, the principles behind its application to nature conservation have a longer history. For example, the search for representative sites has been a guiding principle for conservation site selection in the UK since the Second World War, and can also be detected as the basis for new site selection criteria in the USA, Ireland and many other countries. It is also starting to be used as a means of analysing the existing World Heritage Sites list and may become one factor in assessing new site applications. The word was first widely adopted in Tasmania and has a status equal to biodiversity within the Australian Natural Heritage Charter. Despite some opposition, the term is increasingly being used around the world, but has been adopted most enthusiastically in the UK, where many Geodiversity Audits, Local Geodiversity Action Plans and Company Geodiversity Action Plans have been published or are planned. A national Geodiversity Action Plan will be published in 2008. The term has also been adopted in national planning guidance in the UK and, as a result, is finding its way into regional and local planning policies. The paper concludes with some speculations about its future use in geoconservation.
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.