What is geodiversity?

The term geodiversity incorporates all the variety of rocks, minerals and landforms and the processes which have formed these features throughout geological time. Best known are those rare and exceptional occurrences such as dinosaur footprints or mammoth tusks, but there are many more less-exceptional, but equally important, pieces of the geological jigsaw puzzle. When pieced together, these give insight to past climates, earlier environments and life on earth.

Geodiversity contributes to our quality of life in many ways. Its benefits include:

  • Appreciation: geological features are admired by many people, with large numbers of visitors attracted to some sites (for example the Dorset and East Devon World Heritage Site).
  • Knowledge: the study of these features enables us to understand the evolution and history of the planet.
  • Products: commercial extraction provides building materials and minerals for industry and small-scale collection of fossils and minerals brings enjoyment to individuals.
  • Natural processes: the functioning of natural systems provide a number of essential services, such as water supply and natural flood defence.

In contrast, geological and geomorphological conservation, increasingly referred to as ‘geoconservation’, is the discipline concerned with the protection, active management or interpretation of geodiversity.

Find further information relating to the geodiversity in the audit of active aggregate in Devon.