Geodiversity is an integral part of nature and England is extremely geodiverse with numerous geological and geomorphological sites, features and processes of great importance to science, education, recreation and tourism. This rich geoheritage provides the only record we have of past environmental change and the evolution (and extinctions) of life on Earth. It underpins and defines the character and distribution of our landscapes, the nature and distribution of habitats, species and land use, and the cultural and social identity and character of different places. As such, it is important that appropriate action is taken to conserve, manage and celebrate this geoheritage.
This publication explores the principles and practice of geoconservation, drawing on seventy years of practical experience gained by Natural England, its predecessor bodies and many of its partners and stakeholders. It sets out why geoconservation matters, who benefits, and how sites are selected and monitored. It focusses, however, on the principles and practice of delivering geoconservation on the ground. It explores the threats which arise, approaches to site management, and the positive opportunities to deliver geoconservation which sometimes occur as a result of development proposals or land use change.
Supporting practical geoconservation is at the heart of this publication and a wide range of real case studies are used to illustrate interventions which have been successful in conserving, enhancing and promoting geoheritage sites and some which have not. Although primarily aimed at supporting geoconservation and nature recovery in England, the principles, practice and case studies set out here should also be of relevance to anyone anywhere interested in or involved with conserving, recovering or enhancing geodiversity and geoheritage.