Geoheritage (2018) 10:191–203 DOI 10.1007/s12371-017-0240-5 ORIGINAL ARTICLE Enhancing the Role of Geoconservation in Protected Area Management and Nature Conservation 1 2 3 4 John E. Gordon & Roger Crofts & Enrique Díaz-Martínez & Kyung Sik Woo Received: 20 December 2016 /Accepted: 28 June 2017 /Published online: 15 July 2017 The Author(s) 2017. This article is an open access publication . . Abstract Acknowledgement by the International Union for Keywords Geodiversity Geoheritage Geoconservation . . the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) that geodiversity is part of principles Ecosystem services Nature conservation agenda natural diversity and geoheritage is part of natural heritage should help to strengthen the position and delivery of geoconservation through engagement with the wider nature Introduction conservation agenda. In particular, we identify six key areas offering opportunities to enhance the standing and Recognition of the wider values and relevance of geodiversity mainstreaming of geoconservation: (1) integrating for nature and society is central to the development of geoconservation principles in protected area management, in- geoconservation as an emerging geoscience (Henriques et al. cluding the promotion of geoheritage conservation across the 2011; Gordon et al. 2012;Gray 2013;Grayetal. 2013; full range of IUCN Protected Area Management Categories; Prosser et al. 2013; Crofts and Gordon 2015; Díaz-Martínez (2) supporting biodiversity conservation and adaptation to cli- and Fernández-Martínez 2015). This recognition is crucial to mate change through the nature-based solutions approach and establish geodiversity on a stronger and more equivalent foot- ‘conserving nature’sstage’; (3) contributing to natural capital ing withbiodiversity(Brilha 2002;Crofts 2014,Crofts 2017). and ecosystem services valuation; (4) contributing to conser- The purpose of this discussion paper is, first, to review recent vation in the marine environment; (5) enhancing the connec- developments within the International Union for the tions between people, place, and nature and contributing to Conservation of Nature (IUCN) towards adopting a more in- human well-being; and (6) promoting ecosystem stewardship tegrated approach to nature conservation that includes the and contributing to the achievement of the UN Sustainable wider values of geodiversity and, second, to outline some Development Goals. Adoption of a more outward-looking key areas and directions that offer opportunities for develop- approach should help to progress the integration of ing such an integrated approach and the engagement of geoconservation within nature conservation, protected area geoconservation with wider global agendas (Crofts 2017). planning and management, and broader environmental strate- We contend that a more outward-looking approach is neces- gies and policies. sary, both as part of developing a more formal and rigorous geoconservation science and in providing a platform to prog- ress the mainstreaming of geoconservation within nature con- * John E. Gordon servation, protected area planning and management, and firstname.lastname@example.org broader environmental agendas, strategies, and policies (Crofts 2017; Gordon et al. in press). This extends, rather than School of Geography and Sustainable Development, University of St replaces, the core activities associated with site-based Andrews, St Andrews, Scotland KY16 9AL, UK geoconservation. In particular, we emphasise the importance IUCN-WCPA Emeritus, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK of recognising the links between people, nature and the land- Geological Survey of Spain (IGME), Madrid, Spain scape in the management of protected areas, and the potential for linking geodiversity and biodiversity through ‘conserving Department of Geology, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon, South Korea nature’sstage’, promoting the cultural values of geodiversity 192 Geoheritage (2018) 10:191–203 and engaging with ecosystem services. In doing so, we offer a issues associated with ‘diversity’, including the need for pro- perspective that explores the wider nature conservation agen- tection of geological and soil diversity’ (Dudley and Stolton da and highlights the relevance of geoconservation in address- 2008, p.194). Subsequently, in a significant development for ing the key global challenges facing conservation in the com- the international recognition of geoconservation, IUCN ing decades (IUCN 2016a). Resolutions 4.040 (IUCN 2008), 5.048 (IUCN 2012)and 6.083 (IUCN 2016b) explicitly recognise that geodiversity is part of natural diversity and geoheritage is part of natural heritage. Notably, also, all three resolutions acknowledge the IUCN Recognition of Geodiversity and Geoheritage scientific, cultural, aesthetic, landscape, economic, and intrin- sic values of geoheritage and the wider value and relevance of The conservation of geodiversity and geoheritage is funda- geodiversity in underpinning biological, cultural, and land- mental to a wide range of nature conservation issues and scape diversity. They also state that both geodiversity and drivers (Table 1). However, these issues have been poorly geoheritage must be considered in the assessment and man- addressed by the geoconservation community, particularly in agement of natural areas. Formal recognition of the terms of promoting the applications of relevant geoscience geodiversity component of protected areas was made in research (e.g. on climate change, geomorphological processes, 2008 (Dudley 2008), and Resolutions 5.048 and 6.083 later links to biodiversity) in nature conservation and protected area called on the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas management. The value of making these connections at a (WCPA) to promote and support proper management of national level through strategic approaches to geoconservation geoheritage in protected areas. has been advocated in the UK. This is exemplified by the In 2014, the WCPA formally approved the establishment of adoption of Scotland’s Geodiversity Charter (Scottish a Geoheritage Specialist Group (GSG) (https://www.iucn.org/ Geodiversity Forum 2013), the Geodiversity Charter for theme/protected-areas/wcpa/what-we-do/geoheritage). The England (English Geodiversity Forum 2014), and the UK GSG provides specialist advice and guidance on all aspects GeodiversityActionPlan(http://www.ukgap.org.uk/). of geodiversity and geoheritage in relation to the However, the inputs of geodiversity, geoheritage, and their establishment and management of protected areas, the conservation (geoconservation) to, and recognition in, many integration of geoconservation into IUCN’s programmes, of the key debates and strategy documents relating to the key and the promotion of better understanding of the links issues in Table 1 have been very limited despite their clear between geodiversity and biodiversity. It will also offer relevance. Geodiversity and geoheritage are still poorly specialist geoheritage advice for the assessment of World recognised and rarely integrated at a wider policy level and Heritage Site nominations and develop new IUCN WCPA in protected area management generally. geoheritage guidance under Criterion (viii) for State Parties At an international level, IUCN has played an important and assessors of World Heritage candidate sites, including part in starting to redress this imbalance. IUCN is the world’s facilitating relationships with international geological and largest nature conservation organisation, itself a conglomera- geomorphological organisations. In addition, the GSG will tion of government and charitable conservation bodies, and a act as a professional interface between IUCN and global authority on biodiversity conservation, protected area geoconservation stakeholders, such as UNESCO, NGOs, the management, and connecting people and nature. IUCN mem- mining industry, national administrations, and others. bers must abide by IUCN’s resolutions. In 2007, at the IUCN The priority tasks of the GSG have included publication of Protected Areas Summit, in Almeria, Spain, agreement was a chapter on geoconservation for the first time in IUCN’s reached that ‘protected areas should address a full range of Protected Area Governance and Management e-book Table 1 Some key conservation policy areas and drivers offering (Crofts and Gordon 2015). This outlines the case for opportunities to enhance the integration of geoconservation in the wider geoconservation in protected areas, the threats to geoheritage, nature conservation agenda and how geoheritage fits into the IUCN classification of Protected Area Management Categories (Table 2). Contrary � Integrating geoconservation principles in protected area management to common belief, geoheritage conservation is not restricted to � Supporting biodiversity conservation and adaptation to climate change through the nature-based solutions approach and ‘conserving nature’s Category III (Natural Monument or Feature). All six stage’ Categories can include geoheritage interests and provide op- � Contributing to natural capital and ecosystem services valuation portunities to integrate geoheritage and the wider landscape � Contributing to conservation in the marine environment values of geodiversity much more closely in the conservation � Enhancing the connections between people, place, and nature and management of all protected areas. Geoparks are not a contributing to human well-being protected area category as such, although all of them contain � Promoting ecosystem stewardship and contributing to the achievement important geosites as well as protected areas. The of the UN Sustainable Development Goals International Geoscience and Geoparks Programme of Geoheritage (2018) 10:191–203 193 Table 2 IUCN Protected Area Management Categories (from Dudley 2008) and examples of geoheritage interests in the different categories (from Crofts and Gordon 2014) Category Examples Ia Strict nature reserve: strictly protected for biodiversity and also possibly geological/ � Greenland Ice Cap, Greenland: ice cap and nunataks geomorphological features, where human visitation, use, and impacts are strictly � Geysir valley, Kronotsky Zapovednik, Russia: volcanic controlled and limited to ensure protection of the conservation values features Ib Wilderness area: usually large unmodified or slightly modified areas, retaining their � Maspalomas Dunes Special Nature Reserve, Spain: natural character and influence, without permanent or significant human habitation, saltmarshes within Pleistocene dunes which are protected and managed so as to preserve their natural condition � Noatak Wilderness, Alaska, USA: river basin II National park: large natural or near natural areas set aside to protect large-scale � Grand Canyon National Park, USA: stratigraphic record and ecological processes, along with the complement of species and ecosystem arid-land erosion characteristic of the area, which also provide a foundation for environmentally and � Krkonoše/Karkonosze National Parks, Czech culturally compatible spiritual, scientific, educational, recreational, and visitor Republic/Poland: periglacial landforms and opportunities geodiversity-biodiversity relationships III Natural monument or feature: areas set aside to protect a specific natural monument, � Jenolan Karst Conservation Reserve, Australia: karst system which can be a landform, sea mount, submarine cavern, and geological feature such as � Bosques Petrificados, Argentina: petrified forest a cave or even a living feature such as an ancient grove IV Habitat/species management area: areas to protect particular species or habitats where � Montserrat Mountain Partial Natural Reserve, Spain: management reflects this priority. Many will need regular, active interventions to sedimentary rocks, caves and mountain erosion forms address the requirements of particular species or to maintain habitats, but this is not a � Lord Howe Marine Park, Australia: volcanic seamount requirement of the category V Protected landscape/seascape: where the interaction of people and nature over time has � Cairngorms National Park, UK: Earth history and modern produced an area of distinct character with significant ecological, biological, cultural, geomorphological processes and scenic value and where safeguarding the integrity of this interaction is vital to � Lyngsalpan landscape protected area, Norway: alpine protecting and sustaining the area and its associated nature conservation and other mountains with glaciers and associated landforms values VI Protected area with sustainable use of natural resources: areas which conserve � Nublo Rural Park, Spain: volcanology and geomorphology ecosystems and habitats, together with associated cultural values and traditional � Sečovlje Salina Nature Park, Slovenia: salt extraction natural resource management systems. They are generally large, with most of the area in a natural condition, where a proportion is under sustainable natural resource management and where low-level non-industrial use of natural resources compatible with nature conservation is seen as one of the main aims UNESCO therefore provides an international framework to Reflecting these developments, Crofts and Gordon conserve and enhance geoheritage under sustainable use strat- (2015) argued that geoconservation contributes to the egies, as does the UNESCO World Heritage List. Recognising functioning of healthy ecosystems and the services they the integrity of nature and the interdependency of provide. They emphasised the intrinsic, scientific, educa- geoconservation and biodiversity conservation should be a tional, cultural, aesthetic, and ecological/ecosystem values common goal in protected area management founded on an of geodiversity. They also highlighted the importance of ecosystem approach, as advocated under the Convention on integrating geoconservation into the management of all Biological Diversity (CBD) ( 1992). six IUCN Protected Area Management Categories, as part The preparation by the GSG of a ‘Best Practice Guideline on of an ecosystem approach that recognises the values and Geoheritage Conservation in Protected Areas’ (Crofts et al. in integrity of both abiotic and biotic processes in nature prep.) will provide more detailed practical management guidance conservation. By acknowledging the value of geodiversity and case studies to help build the capacity of protected areas’staff and geoheritage in their own right, such an approach ben- to deal effectively with conserving geoheritage. It will draw on efits both biodiversity and geodiversity, and thus overall expert input from across the global geoconservation community, natural diversity. addressing the need for geoheritage conservation, management The outcomes of the IUCN World Parks Congress in principles, and best practice examples dealing with threats and Sydney in 2014 (IUCN 2014) and the World Conservation communication. Development of more integrated approaches to Congress (WCC) in Hawai’iin2016 (IUCN 2016a)highlight- the management of protected areas requires not only established ed the importance of protected areas for conserving nature and guidelines for the protection of geosites but also the effective for their role in offering natural solutions to global issues, in application of geoconservation principles that apply more widely particular: (1) the threats to biodiversity from habitat loss, to the sustainable management of natural systems (Crofts and climate change, and unsustainable exploitation; (2) the signif- Gordon 2014, 2015). icance of the world’s oceans for biodiversity and sustainable 194 Geoheritage (2018) 10:191–203 livelihoods; (3) the role of protected areas and other Integrating Geoconservation Principles in Protected ecosystem-based approaches in providing natural solutions Area Management for global challenges, and particularly solutions for conserva- tion and sustainability that combine traditional wisdom and Promoting the adoption of key guiding principles for modern knowledge; and (4) the need to engage a broader geoconservation (Table 3) is fundamental to implementing a spectrum of stakeholders in conservation action, while at the more holistic approach in practice and in mainstreaming same time benefiting human health and well-being (IUCN geoconservation into nature conservation and protected area 2016a; MacKinnon and Londoño 2016). To meet these chal- planning and management. These principles should be an in- lenges, and following ‘The Promise of Sydney’ (IUCN 2014), tegral consideration in the rationales and management objec- the 2017–2020 IUCN Programme approved during the WCC tives for all six IUCN Protected Area Management Categories in Hawai’i has three main areas: (1) valuing and conserving and form an essential part of an ecosystem approach in the nature; (2) promoting and supporting effective and equitable wider landscape. These principles may be summarised as governance of natural resources; and (3) deploying nature- follows. based solutions to address societal challenges including cli- First, the wider values of geodiversity and geoheritage mate change, food security, and economic and social develop- should be recognised, including cultural, aesthetic, and eco- ment. Although attempts by geoheritage experts to make logical values as well as those for science, education, and amendments to the wording of the draft IUCN Programme tourism that commonly underpin different geoheritage valua- to specifically include geodiversity were unsuccessful, the tion systems (e.g. Brilha 2016; Reynard et al. 2016). These use of the word ‘nature’ is inclusive of geodiversity as part values have intrinsic (for their own or nature’s sake indepen- of the nature conservation effort (IUCN 2012). Nevertheless, dent of human values), instrumental or utilitarian (for humans’ in the future, greater effort should be made by the sake and use), and relational (including eudaimonic or human geoconservation community to engage at an earlier stage in well-being) components (Gordon et al. in press). Protection of making an input to the IUCN programme development pro- these values should be progressed across the full range of cess to ensure recognition of geodiversity and geoheritage and IUCN Protected Area Management Categories. As part of their direct relevance for addressing the future challenges for the development of a conservation management strategy for nature conservation. these areas, the completion of the key steps of geoheritage The WCPA Work Programme 2017–2020 will prioritise a inventory, assessment of values and uses, conservation, risk number of key areas (MacKinnon and Londoño 2016), all of assessment, monitoring, and, where appropriate, promotion which provide opportunities for geoconservation engagement: through interpretation are a priority (Brilha 2005, 2016). This is particularly important where protected area managers & Managing and enhancing protected areas (terrestrial, may be unaware of the geodiversity of their areas and its freshwater, and marine) to halt biodiversity loss and meet geoheritage values. Aichi Target 11 set out in the CBD Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020 (Convention on Biological Table 3 Geoconservation principles (modified from Crofts and Diversity 2010) Gordon 2014, 2015) & Strengthening work on governance across all categories of 1. The multiple values of geodiversity and geoheritage should be protected areas recognised. & Mainstreaming protected areas as natural solutions to 2. Effective geoconservation requires a systematic approach to all aspects existing and emerging global challenges, such as climate of site identification and management. change, disaster risk reduction, food and water security, 3. Management of natural systems should ‘work with nature’. and exploring and promoting linkages between protected 4. Natural systems and processes should be managed in a spatially areas and spiritual, physical, and mental health and integrated manner. & Helping to define post-2020 biodiversity targets and 5. The inevitability of natural change should be recognised. promoting protected areas as a valuable tool to achieve 6. The effects of global climate change should be considered and acted on. the UN Sustainable Development Goals (United 7. The sensitivity of natural systems should be recognised and they should Nations 2015a). be managed within the limits of their capacity to absorb change. 8. Conservation management of active systems should be based on understanding the underlying abiotic processes. There is also a strong emphasis on building outreach and 9. Provision should be made for managing visitors at sensitive sites and communication to reconnect people with nature and engage a the promotion of education and interpretation of the whole natural broader constituency in conservation, for example through the heritage. #NatureforAll programme (MacKinnon and Londoño 2016). 10. The interaction and interdependency of geodiversity and biodiversity This is a theme that closely aligns with geoconservation ac- should be recognised in conservation management. tivities (Crofts 2017). Geoheritage (2018) 10:191–203 195 Second, the most effective and sustainable way of manag- components of nature is axiomatic: geodiversity is an integral ing natural systems involves ‘working with nature’.This re- part of ecosystems and natural capital, and the services and quires ‘making space for nature’ and natural processes and benefits they provide. managing natural systems in a spatially integrated manner, Recognising the interaction and interdependency of recognising landscape-scale connectivity, the interdepen- geodiversity and biodiversity in protected area management dencies between geodiversity and biodiversity, and the wider is relevant to mediating biodiversity loss and helping to deliv- catchment-scale impacts that will arise from geological and er the CBD Aichi targets. Most habitats and species depend on geomorphological changes. the abiotic ‘stage’ on which they exist (Anderson and Ferree Third, it is important to accept the inevitability of natural 2010), not only rare or specialised ones, and areas of high change and consider the effects of active geological and geo- geodiversity and environmental heterogeneity tend to support morphological processes. This means that protected area de- high biodiversity (Parks and Mulligan 2010). This applies sign should not be static and that natural systems should be across a range of scales from global to fine scales (e.g. managed within the limits of their capacity to absorb change. Soukupová et al. 1995; Barthlott et al. 2005; Najwer et al. This includes considering geomorphological sensitivity and 2016; Tukiainen et al. 2017). Geodiversity therefore under- potential tipping points that may result from climate change. pins a range of macro- and micro-habitats that provide oppor- Fourth, the application of geoscience in protected area tunities for enhanced species richness, as well as distinctive management requires learning from the past and applying habitats that support rare or unique biota adapted to particular knowledge of geological and geomorphological processes abiotic conditions (Hjort et al. 2015; Porembski et al. 2016). and landscape evolution, not to provide static baselines but Geodiversity also supports biodiversity adaptation to cli- to help understand the ranges of natural process variability mate change (Groves et al. 2012;Andersonetal. 2014; and possible future trajectories of change. Theobald et al. 2015). For example, areas with a high Fifth, protected area management should include provision geodiversity provide a range of topographic and environmen- for management of visitors, particularly at sensitive sites, to- tal mosaics, corridors, and elevational settings, including gether with appropriate education and interpretation. This macro- and micro-refugia, that enable species to persist, adapt, means that protected area managers should promote education or relocate (Fig. 1). Therefore, as well as enhancing manage- and interpretation of the whole natural heritage of each ment of geodiversity, ‘conserving nature’sstage’ offers a protected area. Often, the number and quality of education coarse filter approach to conservation planning that can im- and interpretation programmes incorporating geoheritage are prove the design and management of protected area networks rather limited, even when important geological and geomor- for biodiversity (Anderson and Ferree 2010; Beier and Brost phological features occur in the protected area. 2010; Beier et al. 2015). In particular, where species and com- munities are likely to alter in response to climate change, the Many of these principles align closely with the promotion by IUCN and others of the role of healthy ecosystems in conservation of geodiverse, heterogeneous landscapes should providing effective nature-based solutions to climate change underpin the development of robust protected area networks (Dudley et al. 2010; IUCN 2014, 2016a; Belokurov et al. that help to maintain the resilience and adaptive capacity of 2016; Cohen-Shacham et al. 2016). biodiversity and sustain key ecosystem processes (Anderson et al. 2014, 2015; Comer et al. 2015). In the face of climate change, the delivery of long-term biodiversity targets may Supporting Biodiversity Conservation therefore be improved by maintaining geodiversity and the and Adaptation to Climate Change natural processes that enhance landscape heterogeneity (Brazier et al. 2012). This is recognised in the IUCN Best By definition, ecosystems comprise biotic and abiotic compo- Practice Guideline on ‘Adapting to Climate Change’ (Gross nents that form interacting systems (Tansley 1935; et al. 2016). However, the abiotic ‘stage’ is not static and Convention on Biological Diversity 1992). In conjunction maintaining the integrity of natural abiotic processes as far with climate, geodiversity provides the fundamental underpin- as possible is also part of the process of enabling ecosystem ning for biodiversity, both in terms of the physical template evolution (Pressey et al. 2007; Prober and Dunlop 2011). (substrates, landform mosaics, and soil formation) for habitats Geoconservation management also has a significant part to and species, as well as the essential biogeochemical and geo- play in the application of nature-based solutions in addressing morphological processes (water flow regimes, sediment sup- climate change. The importance of maintaining healthy eco- ply, erosion, and deposition) that drive key ecosystem func- systems was recognised in the Paris Agreement adopted in tions (e.g. Jačková and Romportl 2008; Anderson and Ferree December 2015 under the United Nations Framework 2010; Thorp et al. 2010; Jones et al. 2011; Semeniuk et al. Convention on Climate Change (United Nations 2015b). 2011; le Roux and Luoto 2014)(Fig. 1). From a modern Terrestrial, coastal, and marine ecosystems all act as signifi- ecosystem perspective, the unity of the abiotic and biotic cant carbon sinks and reservoirs, and the conservation of soils, 196 Geoheritage (2018) 10:191–203 Fig. 1 Examples of links between geodiversity, biodiversity, and and education, habitat provision for nature conservation, natural forms of ecosystem services in different environments. a Posets-Maladeta coast defence and flood protection, and opportunities for recreation, Natural Park, Spain. In mountain areas, the complex patterns of aesthetic appreciation, and artistic inspiration. c River Feshie, stratigraphy, lithology, structural geology, soils, landform mosaics, and Cairngorms National Park, Scotland. River corridors provide mosaics of geomorphological processes generate a high geodiversity as well as geomorphological processes and dynamic habitats, water supplies, geoheritage sites with high value, providing a heterogeneous and natural flood mitigation, and opportunities for recreation. d Huanjiang dynamic physical ‘stage’ that supports a high diversity of habitats and Karst, part of the South China Karst World Heritage Site, Guangxi species across a range of scales, as well as other ecosystem services and Province, China. The geodiversity of the cone karst (fengcong) benefits such as clean water, and opportunities for recreation, aesthetic landscape supports a pristine, subtropical, humid-climate, mixed-forest appreciation, and artistic inspiration. b Chesil Beach and the Fleet ecosystem with vertical differentiation of forest types between the Lagoon, part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, England. depressions and valleys and the tops of the cones. Numerous endemic Coastal systems deliver a range of ecosystem services and benefits, plant and animal species are present. The karst landscape also has high including dynamic landforms and geomorphological processes for study cultural value peatlands, and coastal and marine sediments is an important et al. 2013; Temmerman et al. 2013; Tessler et al. 2015), such component of climate change mitigation. As well as solutions can help to provide resilience and reduce the vulner- supporting carbon sequestration, conservation management ability of protected areas and human communities to natural of soils and peatlands is integral to a multi-disciplinary ap- hazards such as coastal erosion, flooding, landslides, and soil proach to the prevention of land degradation, loss of water erosion under more extreme climatic events (Dudley et al. quality through erosion, and other critical ecosystem services 2010, 2015;Naylor etal. 2017). (Agricultural University of Iceland 2005; Bigas et al. 2009; Adhikari and Hartemink 2016). Understanding abiotic pro- cesses and the application of this understanding are also fun- damental in managing ecosystem adaptations to climate Natural Capital and Ecosystem Services Valuation change (Gray et al. 2013). For example, the responses of geo- morphological processes to climate change will have signifi- The concepts of natural capital and ecosystem services have cant catchment-wide impacts on ecosystems and biodiversity, featured strongly in nature conservation policy particularly and with changes in one part of a system having knock-on since the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005). The val- effects elsewhere (Knight and Harrison 2013, 2014). uation, both in economic and non-economic terms, of the Geoconservation-based solutions therefore have an important services and benefits that nature provides to support human role in protected area management. They include ‘working well-being can be an effective means to influence policy and with nature’ and ‘making space for natural processes’ or the to help increase public awareness of the value of nature con- restoration of natural processes. For example, at the coast and servation. Despite concerns about treating nature as a com- along river corridors (e.g. Hopkins et al. 2007; Opperman modity and the difficulty of placing a monetary value on many et al. 2009; Brazier et al. 2012; Jackson et al. 2012; Arkema cultural services (McCauley 2006;Silvertown 2015), Geoheritage (2018) 10:191–203 197 ecosystem services provide a useful framework for communi- from biotic and abiotic nature (e.g. mineral extraction versus cating the importance of nature to the public and policy habitat support) and between economic and cultural values makers. The concept is gaining traction in international strat- (e.g. between the landscape aesthetic value of a suite of glacial egies, including the Aichi Biodiversity Targets in the Strategic landforms and the economic value of the sand and gravel they Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020 (Convention on Biological contain) (Lele et al. 2013;Guerry et al. 2015; Saunders and Diversity 2010) and the EU Biodiversity Strategy (European Luck 2016). Commission 2011), as well as in national policies and programmes (e.g. Adams et al. 2014; Schaefer et al. 2015). It offers a means to highlight the wider benefits of nature and to examine the different ways in which people, knowingly or Marine Conservation unknowingly, benefit from nature conservation. Geodiversity confers many benefits (Fig. 1) across the full Various international developments, including the OSPAR range of provisioning, regulating, cultural, and supporting cat- Convention (1992) and the EU Marine Strategy Framework egories of ecosystem services, including, for example, supply Directive (2008), have highlighted the pressures on the marine of freshwater, air quality and water regulation, natural hazard environment and have set in place measures for the protection regulation, inspiration for literature and art, opportunities for of marine habitats and species and the establishment of marine recreation and geotourism, and support for habitats and spe- protected areas (Day et al. 2015). The World Parks Congress cies (Gordon and Barron 2013;Gray 2013). However, and the World Conservation Congress both reaffirmed the geodiversity has been under-represented or overlooked in importance of marine conservation for biodiversity and people the valuation of natural capital, and so far, there has been only (IUCN 2014, 2016a; Wenzel et al. 2016). However, limited exploration of ecosystem services in a geoconservation in the marine environment has been largely geoconservation context (Gray 2011, 2013;Gray etal. 2013; overlooked, although there are a few exceptions, for example van der Meulen et al. 2016; van Ree and van Beukering 2016). in theUK(Bureketal. 2013;Gordon etal. 2016). With the Greater engagement in this area by the geoscience and development of improved mapping of seabed features using geoconservation communities, supported by case studies, new remote survey techniques, knowledge of seabed geomor- would help to promote the value of geodiversity and phology has progressed greatly (Chiocci and Chivas 2014; geoheritage and their integration into environmental policy. Harris et al. 2014; Dowdeswell et al. 2016). At the same time, Ecosystem services can be used to highlight the benefits of there is growing interest in seafloor mapping and the biophys- geodiversity across a wide range of policy areas including ical characterisation of the seabed to assist the development of public health, the environment, recreation, the built environ- marine protected areas based on the use of abiotic surrogates ment, green infrastructure, sustainable rural development, to represent biodiversity (Roff et al. 2003). The international tourism, and natural hazard risk management (Gordon and GeoHab (Marine Geological and Biological Habitat Barron 2012). Mapping) initiative (Todd and Greene 2007; Harris and Integration of natural capital and ecosystem services into Baker 2012), the MAREANO programme in Norway geoconservation strategies should be recognised as a utilitari- (Thorsnes et al. 2009; Buhl-Mortensen et al. 2015a, 2015b), an approach, and one that complements conservation of nature and the MAREMAP in the UK (Diesing et al. 2014;Howe for its own sake (Hunter et al. 2014; Boulton et al. 2016; et al. 2015) are all contributing in this area. In addition, the Pearson 2016). It requires mapping and assessments of the integrity of the seafloor is now regarded as an important ele- geodiversity components of ecosystem services in an area, ment of a healthy marine environment, for example under the their different conservation values, the analysis of benefits, EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (Rice et al. 2012; and setting of conservation targets. Importantly, non-material Markus et al. 2015), which should help to ensure positive as well as material values must be considered (Chan et al. outcomes for geodiversity as well as biodiversity. 2016). More generally, there is a need for clear evidence that These developments in data availability, together with the demonstrates how incorporating abiotic components into nat- use of biophysical indicators and characterisation of the sea- ural capital and ecosystem service assessments can lead to bed, offer significant potential to develop geoconservation in management outcomes that improve human well-being in the marine environment, which is integrated with the conser- both the short and long term. This means advancing under- vation of seafloor habitats as part of an ecosystem approach. standing of the underlying biophysical mechanisms (Boulton This is essential not only in view of the dependencies of hab- et al. 2016) and providing the evidence base to support itats and species on geodiversity but also from a practical decision-making (Guerry et al. 2015; Lubchenco et al. viewpoint given the difficulties in managing and monitoring 2015). It also requires developing metrics for assessing the the seabed and the resources required. To assist in prioritising multiple co-benefits of geoconservation in protected areas, resources, there is a need for better understanding of the sen- as well as evaluating trade-offs between the services derived sitivity and vulnerability of different marine geodiversity 198 Geoheritage (2018) 10:191–203 interests and of the functional links between marine beings (Vitaliano 2007; Kirchner and Kubalíková 2015), or geodiversity and biodiversity (Gordon et al. 2016). through various forms of iconography including rock art. Geotourism is an important means to gain recognition for geoheritage and progressing geoconservation (Erikstad 2013). There is a substantial body of publications describing existing Connecting People, Place, and Nature and potential geotourism provision at many sites around the and Contributing to Human Well-Being world. However, there is an urgent need for a more rigorous approach, both to evaluate the expectations of visitors from There is now much greater acknowledgement that people are different cultures and the kinds of activities and memorable part of nature, leading to a growing focus in conservation experiences that will increase support for geoconservation, policy on sustainable interactions between people and nature and to assess the effectiveness of geotourism in raising visi- and the role of protected areas in contributing to human well- tors’ awareness and changing their behaviour. Much could be being at the same time as protecting nature (Mace 2014; learned from engaging with the wider heritage and nature- Dudley et al. 2016; MacKinnon and Londoño 2016). This based tourism research agenda (e.g. Kim et al. 2011; Packer reflects recognition that the traditional separation of nature et al. 2014; Healy et al. 2016). There are also challenges to and culture in Western thinking is outdated (Feary et al. develop the best practice management to enhance the visitor 2015). Connecting people with nature is a key outcome of experience and protect the resource, while at the same time the World Conservation Congress in 2016, in particular learn- meeting the needs of local communities (Leung et al. 2015). ing from traditional values and wisdom to gain a deeper un- Where available, traditional environmental knowledge should derstanding of sustainable solutions to conservation chal- be integrated both in conservation management and in lenges (IUCN 2016a). interpretation. Geoconservation is well placed to address this issue. Many From a health and well-being viewpoint, geoparks have a geosites have strong cultural and aesthetic associations, while valuable role in raising awareness of natural hazards and their many sacred natural sites are founded on particular rock for- risk management, since the principal interests of many mations, landforms, caves, or mineral outcrops where they geoparks involve natural hazards such as volcanoes and need special management for their cultural values and where glaciers. The Shimabara Declaration (2012)fromthe 5th geoheritage is central to the whole reason for protection (Wild International Global Geoparks Network Conference ad- and McLeod 2008). Uluru is one well-known example but dressed the role of geoparks in natural disasters, while the there are many more, less well-known ones, including many English Riviera Declaration from the 7th International sacred mountains (Bernbaum and Price 2013). As for biodi- Conference (UNESCO 2016) noted that UNESCO Global versity (Schaaf and Lee 2006), therefore, sacred natural sites Geoparks can contribute to risk reduction and enhance disaster and cultural landscapes have a role to play in geoconservation preparedness through education and sharing of good practice (Kiernan 2015). This includes not only through World activities under the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Heritage listing, but also through cross-cultural collaboration Reduction (UNISDR 2015). Further, from an educational per- (Borrini-Feyerabend et al. 2004; Gavin et al. 2015)that in- spective, changes in dynamic geomorphological environ- volves local and indigenous people in geoconservation, with ments, such as mountains and coasts, have additional value benefits of recognising and maintaining traditional knowledge in helping to raise awareness of climate change and natural and culture, while conserving and promoting geoheritage hazards because the effects are often very apparent, for exam- (Farsani et al. 2012; Tavares et al. 2015). The global growth ple in recent glacier recession (Reynard and Coratza 2016). of geotourism and geoparks offers a means to develop and promote the links between geoheritage and the cultural com- ponents of the landscape, as well as a means to enhance the Ecosystem Stewardship and Achievement of the UN visitor experience involving interpretation that encourages the Sustainable Development Goals rediscovery of a sense of wonder through the aesthetic and cultural connections of geoheritage (Martini 2000; Pralong The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2006;Zgłobicki and Baran-Zgłobicka 2013; Gordon and set out an agenda for action to end poverty, protect the planet, Baker 2016). Such an approach, while retaining geology as and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity (United a central focus, requires a more holistic integration of the Nations 2015a). The geosciences have an essential contribu- geology, environment, culture, aesthetics, and heritage of an tion to make in delivering many of these goals (Lubchenco area (Martini et al. 2012; Stoffelen and Vanneste 2015). This et al. 2015; Stewart and Gill 2017; Crofts 2017), including may include etiological and euhemeristic connections conservation and wise use of oceans (SDG14) and terrestrial expressed through geomythology, local folklore, and legends ecosystems (SDG15), access to clean water (SDG6), health in terms of supernatural forces or the actions of mythical (SDG3), food security (SDG2), and climate action (SDG13). Geoheritage (2018) 10:191–203 199 Several recognise the value of healthy natural systems, a key dynamics, and the functional links with biodiversity (i.e. their concern of geoconservation, and depend on the ecosystem ser- role as nature’s ‘stage’), as well as the value of geodiversity vices provided by geodiversity. For example, understanding of and geoheritage for human well-being. It is vital that the maintenance of soil health and soil development and geodiversity and geoheritage are fully integrated into the se- avoiding soil degradation and gross loss are fundamental if soil lection, management, and monitoring of all IUCN Protected is to be recognised as a vital human and natural resource. In Area Management Categories as part of an ecosystem ap- turn, therefore, sustainable use of soil is fundamental to healthy proach that recognises the value of both abiotic and biotic terrestrial ecosystems, clean water, human health, food securi- processes in nature conservation and as part of natural capital ty, and climate change mitigation. More generally, as part of (Matthews 2014;Peñaetal. 2017). The broader discipline of the contribution of the geosciences, there is a need to explore geoconservation that is emerging is starting to recognise the how the principles of geoconservation can help to deliver sus- wider intrinsic, cultural, aesthetic, and ecological values of tainable use of Earth’s natural resources and how they may be geodiversity and geoheritage and their contributions to a range applied in the management of land, water, the coast, and the of benefits for nature and people. These values are now em- seafloor. This should include the wise use and management of bedded in IUCN Resolutions, but more concerted action is natural capital and ecosystem services dependent on required in practice to engage with the wider nature conserva- geodiversity as part of ecosystem stewardship that in turn rec- tion community and to demonstrate the values and relevance ognises the interdependencies of human activity, well-being, of geoconservation in contributing to the evolving functions and ecosystems (Chapin et al. 2010; Guerry et al. 2015). of protected areas. In particular, there is a need to develop the philosophical and theoretical basis of geoconservation, in or- der to enhance its scientific standing and thereby the ability of Conclusion academics to attract research funding, and to translate this into actions, based on scientific evidence and case studies, that As argued by Crofts (2017), in order to position geodiversity recognise the indivisibility of nature and of nature and people and geoheritage conservation more centrally in the nature con- in protected area management. servation agenda, the geoconservation community must work to ensure that geodiversity and geoheritage conservation in Acknowledgements We thank the two reviewers for helpful comments protected areas gain more fundamental significance in local, that improved the manuscript. national, and international agendas for nature, sustainable de- Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative velopment, and human well-being. This requires that Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http:// geoconservation science and practice engage not only with creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, wider issues in the nature conservation agenda but also reach distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appro- out proactively to offer sustainable, nature-based solutions to priate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. global problems. Addressing these issues will be challenging. 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Geoheritage – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 15, 2017
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