A history of geological conservation on the Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight on the south coast of England has near continuous exposures of Early Cretaceous to Early Oligocene and Quaternary deposits and has long been regarded as a classic area of British geology. It has a long history of study dating back to the start of the nineteenth century. The identified threats to geoconservation are coastal erosion, coastal protection schemes aimed at preventing erosion and fossil collecting. Of these, however, erosion and collecting can also be seen as opportunities. Geology has influenced tourism since the eighteenth century which subsequently promoted both interpretation and conservation. Collecting of geological specimens for museum collections is documented as early as 1825. Site-based conservation began in 1951 with the notification of geological Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) and Regionally Important Geological/geomorphological Sites (RIGS) have been notified since the mid 1990s. There has been a voluntary set of guidelines for fossil collecting and more recently the preparation of a Local Geodiversity Action Plan (LGAP) brought together diverse groups and individuals to begin developing a strategic approach to interpreting and conserving the island's geological heritage. The main outcome of the LGAP process has been to develop a partnership with a view to applying for membership of the European Geoparks Network.
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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.