Synopsis

The ecosystem services approach is now a key driver for environmental policy and conservation management both in the UK and globally. Within this, geodiversity provides or underpins many essential provisioning, regulating, cultural and supporting ecosystem services and so it is not only the inherent value of geodiversity that matters, but also its role in ecosystem functioning. Protecting geodiversity contributes to maintaining the resilience and adaptive capacity of biodiversity and supports critical ecosystem services. In addition, the analysis of palaeoenvironmental archives and geomorphological records provides a key long-term perspective on trends, rates of change and future trajectories in ecosystems and service delivery, an acknowledged gap within the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, as well as informing adaptive management of the effects of climate change, including sea-level rise. Better integration of geodiversity and biodiversity as part of Earth system science is critical for the future-proofing of ecosystems and their services and provides opportunities and challenges for applied geoscience.

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