Edited by Ross Dowling and David Newsome
Chapter 3: Geodiversity, geoheritage, geoconservation and their relationship to geotourism
Geotourism is driven by a deep-seated human desire to visit different geological and geomorphological places, become immersed in different landscapes and take part in different geological activities, i.e. it is driven by the geodiversity of planet Earth. Geodiversity is the abiotic equivalent of biodiversity. Not all of the Earth’s geodiversity has yet been identified, but research and exploration are constantly increasing our knowledge. Geoheritage are those parts of the planet’s geodiversity considered worthy of geoconservation. Thus, geoheritage varies depending on geoconservation decisions in different countries or regions. It can also be increased by restoration or lost through unsustainable human activities including geotourism. Consequently, there is a need for geoconservation and for sustainable geotourism. Geoconservation methods include identifying and/or legally protecting important sites or areas, managing and restoring sites, and educating the public about Earth history and the values of geodiversity. A number of case studies at different scales are outlined where geoconservation techniques are applied at sites visited by geotourists.
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