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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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.