Geodiversity is a relatively new term that describes the variety of rocks, fossils, minerals, landforms and soil, and all the natural processes that shape the landscape. It is the link between people, landscapes and culture.
Like biodiversity, geodiversity provides immense benefits:
Local Geodiversity Action Plans
Many local authorities are producing Local Geodiversity Action Plans (LGAPs) which set out actions to conserve and enhance the geodiversity of a district. In general an LGAP aims to:
Local pyrite nodules were the raw material for the 18th century copperas industry in Brightlingsea - the World's first industrial chemical process. Photo © G. Lucy
The Essex Local Geodiversity Action Plan
A Local Geodiversity Action Plan (LGAP) has been produced for Essex and can be downloaded by clicking on this link:
The Essex LGAP sets out a framework for geodiversity action in Essex. It is an essential document to conserve the County's geodiversity.
A water-worn cobble of extremely hard, ancient, metamorphic rock with veins of white quartz. It was found in a gravel pit in Chelmsford but it actually originates in Cornwall.
It has had a long and eventful history from its formation, over 300 million years ago, beneath a giant mountain range, to its final transport to Essex during the Ice Age in the gravel of the old River Thames.
The UK Geodiversity Action Plan
The UK Geodiversity Action Plan (UKGAP) has been launched and can be seen at:
The UKGAP sets out a shared framework for geodiversity action across the UK. It establishes a common aim, themes and targets which link national, regional and local activities. It encompasses how geodiversity can inspire people and what needs to happen to conserve Britain's geodiversity.
The church at Great Bentley, near Colchester, is constructed of ferricrete,
one of the few natural building stones found in Essex. Photo © G. Lucy
"The only record of the history of our planet lies in the rocks beneath our feet; rocks and the landscape are the memory of the Earth. Here, and only here, is it possible to trace the processes, changes and upheavals which have formed our planet over thousands of millions of years. The more recent part of this record, of course, includes the evolution of life, including Man.
The record preserved in the rocks and landscape is unique, and much of it is surprisingly fragile. Today it is threatened more than ever. What is lost can never be recovered, and therefore there is an urgent need to understand and protect what remains of this our common heritage."
From Geoheritage in Europe and its conservation
Published by ProGEO 2012. www.progeo.se