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History of geoconservation in Europe

Lars Erikstad
Lars Erikstad
Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, Gaustadalléen 21, NO- 0349 Oslo, Norway (e-mail:
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January 01, 2008


Europe consists of many countries and legislative regimes. Some countries have a long history of geoconservation with well developed strategies and practices and others lack the most basic legislation for this kind of work. Some of the earliest geoconservation is found within Germany such as the conservation and visitor control from 1668 in the showcave Baumannshöle. At the start of the twentieth century basic legislation came into force in several countries with more or less effective potential to protect geology. Geology was also important within the National Park movement at the same time.

Modern legislation, inventories and conservation strategies were developed mostly during the second half of the twentieth century. International cooperation has become more important and the association ProGEO and the European Geoparks Network are important in a European context. World Heritage Sites designated on geological criteria are also increasingly common. Geoconservation has been included as a recommendation by the European Council and has begin to be visible in EU policies (such as the soil strategy). As for the future, the challenge lies in getting organizations and disciplines to work together in ways that develop synergy between existing initiatives, share management experience and collaborate over research.

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Figures & Tables


Geological Society, London, Special Publications

The History of Geoconservation

C. V. Burek
C. V. Burek
University of Chester, UK
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C. D. Prosser
C. D. Prosser
Natural England, UK
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Geological Society of London
ISBN electronic:
Publication date:
January 01, 2008




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