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Conservation and Management of the Earth Heritage Resource in Great Britain

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Earth heritage conservation is the branch of conservation that is concerned with sustaining the geological and geomorphological heritage of the Earth. The aims and requirements of Earth heritage conservation are poorly understood in comparison to biological conservation in Great Britain, although both operate within a similar legal framework. This paper outlines the aims of Earth heritage conservation, the legislative framework within which it operates and some of the main threats to Earth heritage sites. A fundamental distinction is made between exposure and integrity sites, each of which has different conservation management requirements. Integrity sites include both static geomorphological sites and active process geomorphological sites, the management of which is illustrated with examples from the coastal and fluvial environments. Exposure sites are those where there are natural or artificial exposures of rocks or sediments that are extensive beneath the ground surface. This paper also considers recent developments in the field of Earth heritage conservation and explores potential areas in which the subject may develop. These include the development of natural areas, the role of urban geology, opportunities for site interpretation and the expansion of the regionally important geological/geomorphological sites (RIGSs) network.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2001

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