Geodiversity and people

We are dependent on our geodiversity, it supports our economy, influences where we live and its sustainable use is critical to both the future well being of our environment and ourselves.

Children looking at geology specimens on a beach near St Andrews, Fife. © Lorne Gill/SNH

Children looking at geology specimens on a beach near St Andrews, Fife. © Lorne Gill/SNH

The UK's geodiversity has been central to economic development from the early mining of tin by Romans, to the use of coal and iron ore in the Industrial Revolution, through to the use of building stone and clay (to make bricks) in constructing our villages, towns and cities. Equally, our diversity of soils (reflecting our geodiversity) has sustained agricultural production and the rural economy.

Landforms, natural processes and geodiversity all control the supply of freshwater. Natural river systems and floodplains help reduce the impact of flooding as does maintaining natural coastal processes. Soils can filter and purify pollution and peatlands can help store carbon, reducing the impact of climate change.

Knowing how important geodiversity is to our own lives is therefore very important.  Understanding the influence of geodiversity, that geodiversity is finite and sensitive to change is critical. Geodiversity, as with the rest of our natural environment, needs to be cared for and carefully managed.