Periglacial patterned ground in the form of vegetated ridges and furrows. ©Dr Bob Matthews, NRW
The UKGAP provides a shared context and direction for geodiversity action through a common aim, themes, objectives and targets which link national, regional and local activities. The UKGAP is a mechanism for encouraging partnership, influencing decision makers, policy makers and funding bodies, and promoting good practice. It also establishes a shared understanding of what is happening and what needs to happen to promote and conserve geodiversity, a process for measuring and reporting on progress and, importantly, celebrating success.
Like much of our natural environment geodiversity is under threat. For example, poor planning and development can permanently remove or cover our geodiversity making it inaccessible. In many places some of our most important and best exposures of geodiversity are simply being neglected, becoming degraded, covered in vegetation or over exploited. Where natural processes are interrupted or changed they are difficult to recover, not only affecting the natural renewal of geodiversity exposures through erosion but also the protection that natural systems, such as flood plains, offer.
Ring of Gullion Complex, Newry bypass cutting, Co. Down. ©Peter Millar, Belfast Geologists Society
Perhaps the biggest threat to geodiversity is the lack of awareness of its importance. It is important to understand that through looking after our geodiversity we are not only conserving our wildlife and habitats but also creating a world that is more resilient to environmental change and providing resources essential for our own well being.
A vast range of organisations, groups and individuals contribute to protecting, managing and promoting our geodiversity in the UK and globally. There is a need to bring this effort together so that those working across the UK can see how every action is contributing the common goal of caring for and enhancing our geodiversity. The UKGAP provides a shared framework for this action. It has been developed in co-operation across the UK and offers a place to share our experience and knowledge of geodiversity, showcase what is happening for geodiversity and highlight what still needs to be done. The UKGAP celebrates what is arguably our most important natural asset - geodiversity. The UKGAP is as dynamic as geodiversity and provides a framework for action which all can contribute to, help shape and evolve.